Sometimes, it’s hard to stay open.


There seems to exist a hard truth that an inescapable part of the human experience involves rejection, failure and loss.  We enter this world with an innocence and hope in others, in all that is possible.  We see the world through rose-colored glasses, fully trusting and endlessly hopeful.  And yet, there comes a time when we inevitably will let each other down.  To be human involves imperfection and making mistakes.  When we open ourselves to possibility, we also open ourselves to the risk of pain.


Vulnerability is having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.


Exposing the tender parts of our hearts to another requires that we bravely walk out upon the limb of risk with no guarantee that we will not fall.  Over the course of our lives, experiences eventually cause pain and that pain has the ability to construct a wall that effectively keeps others out.  As we remember past hurts, we don’t want to be overcome by the suffering we once felt.  Fear keeps us on guard and at the ready.


But there comes a cost to living in the confines of a protected wall:  this very wall may eventually turn into a prison of our own making. By closing ourselves off and safely hiding behind walls, we miss out on life’s greatest pleasures and deepest joys.  We miss out on the opportunity to feel alive and connected.


Vulnerability is the essence of connection and connection is the essence of existence.


I often wonder how to live with this reality – to feel deeply, to let others in, to love with abandon all while knowing the truth that on the other side of this coin may come loss, disappointment and rejection.  When that day comes, will I ask myself if I can see pain as my teacher rather than my enemy?  Will I find the opportunity to learn more about who I am?  While I can’t say for sure, I want to believe that feeling the highest highs and lowest lows will add a vibrancy and color to life that can only be achieved by saying yes to vulnerability.


How do you stay open in the face of loss and pain?


If you would like support in working through the vulnerable parts of your life, feel free to reach out at or

Content provided by Women Belong member Carrie Doan