Mr. Brightside 8 - The Dance of Love + COURAGE & VULNERABILITY
Nothing pays off without effort and taking a chance.
I've had to overcome fear many times in my life.
I think the biggest feat of physical fear I ever had to overcome was when I was 28-years-old training to become a professional Scuba Diver. That first, second, third, twenty-third time I jumped into the water wearing 70+ pounds of diving equipment - those were all terrifying moments.
But one of the biggest moments of overcoming emotional fear that sticks out in my mind was the year before that, when I was 27 and did an intensive three-day, three-night personal development workshop.
On the last night at the retreat facility, there was a celebration evening. And to start off the celebration, someone had to lead the opening dance.
I didn't know until the music started playing that that someone was going to be me.
The workshop leaders said "You lead us, and we will all follow your dance moves."
The point of the workshop was for all of us to be challenged in various ways and do things that would take us out of our comfort zones.
This was out of my comfort zone.
I was standing in front of about 30 or 40 people and I wasn't sure which voice to listen to.
Do I choose fear? Do I listen to the voice that says I can't do this, that I'm going to look stupid, that I don't know what I'm doing?
Or do I tell that voice to shut up, and listen instead to the voice that was begging me to let my soul out of the box it had been crammed into for far too long so that I could dance my heart out in that moment?
Vulnerability is our most accurate way to measure courage as researchers; we can measure how brave you are by how vulnerable you're willing to be.
I chose Option B: dance my heart out. And everyone followed my wild and free movements to a wild and beautiful song.
I got up there and I owned it, and I chose not to listen to the voice of fear.
And that's the only way to approach love; free and fearless.
Caution is fine, and it's actually very important; after all there is a difference between being FEARLESS and being RECKLESS.
But the idea that we should hold back any part of ourselves in the dance of love is wrong if what we hope to experience is a full and true connection with another human being.
And isn't that what we all want? What we're here on earth for? We humans weren't meant to live alone; we're here to connect with each other.
The heart yearns to fuse with others. This can be done only through an act of joint surrender, not through joint autonomy.
- David Brooks: The Second Mountain
If I hadn't let go during that dance that night, it would have shown; everyone would have seen it.
My movements would have been unnatural, stiff, and self-conscious. I think people would have been reluctant to follow me, or to give themselves permission to let go and dance their own hearts out.
But I didn't hold back.
VULNERABILITY and COURAGE are the same thing.
[They all involve]: Uncertainty, Risk or Emotional Exposure.
There is no courage without vulnerability.
We cannot hold back in the dance of love. If we do, the movements become unnatural, stiff, and self-conscious.
Letting go and diving into love, when we've found someone we've deemed worthy of our hearts, is the only way to go.
And I know it's scary to take those first steps in the dance of love, especially if we're the first ones on the dance floor. But when we take those first few steps with our wild and open hearts, we give the other person permission to do the same.
And sometimes it won't work, and that will be very disappointing.
I know, I understand, and I have been there: dancing a dance of love with a partner who looks on scared, uncertain, and unable to join in and match my steps - or worse - who doesn't get onto the dance floor at all.
You're going to know failure if you're brave with your life.
Dancing the dance of love with the wrong person, when they leave us hanging, that's the stuff of heartbreak.
But I refuse to die with "What If's" in my heart; to ever say to myself "What if I had been brave? What if I had said what I felt? What if I had allowed myself to be seen? What if I had invested my whole heart - for what is a half-hearted life, except a shame?"
If I had ever held back in any of my dances of love, I would know in my heart that I had wasted a potential opportunity.
As it stands, every time the opportunity came to dance the dance of love, I stepped onto the dance floor, and I danced my heart out: openly, honestly, and authentically. Because that is the only way.
I have no regrets and there are no reproaches I can make to myself because it was the other person, and not me, who chose not to dance.
And this is why quite a few of those men - years and years later - still surface sometimes and say to me "I'm sorry I didn't dance with you when I had the opportunity..."
I feel compassion for them, while at the same time knowing that they know the thing I'm not going to say in that moment: "While you were busy deciding if you could be brave enough to dance with me, I danced away from you, and now it's too late."
Vulnerability is having the courage to show up when you can't control the outcome.
Dancing the dance of love with someone who won't dance with us is heartbreaking.
But dancing the dance of love with someone who will?
Well I imagine that would be the most beautiful feeling in the world.
I don't know for sure what it's like, because I've never met anyone brave enough to dance with me. But I know that I will find my dance partner because when we put genuine love out into the world, that love will find its way to the right heart.
Two people, bravely surrendering together to the dance of love.
To love is to be vulnerable. To give someone your heart and say "I know this could hurt so bad but I'm willing to be vulnerable and love you..."
There are an increasing number of people in the world today that are not willing to take that risk. They'd rather never know love than to know hurt, or grief, and that is a huge price to pay.
Mr. Brightside said he wasn't falling in love with me; but how can you fall in love if you never step onto the dance floor?
I have no regrets and there are no reproaches I can make to myself because it was Mr. Brightside, and not me, who chose not to dance.
And the truth is, I'm glad he didn't. Anyone not brave enough to dance the dance of love isn't deserving of my wild and open heart.
It's time for me to step out onto the dance floor with a partner who is ready to dance; to stop choosing partners who are too afraid of being vulnerable to even try, and to find someone who is truly BRAVE.
And it's also time for me to allow myself to be vulnerable with those who have earned the right to really see into my heart and soul.