When we’re kids, we hit a certain age when we start building, brick by brick, a wall of boundaries. We are no longer comfortable changing in public, talking to strangers, talking about personal details of our lives, showing strong emotions like anger or crying in front of just anyone, and we are much less eager to give our affections unabashedly.

As we cement the bricks with modesty and manners, protecting ourselves from public shame and heartbreak, we tear down the wall piece by piece as we make friends, date, and allow people into our lives. We retreat back to being toddlers: we freely express emotion, talk about personal topics and tell weird secrets, act goofy like children, show affection and often are comfortable undressing in front of them. We become vulnerable again, unprotected and risk being embarrassed and hurt.

Without taking down these bricks, we would live, as you would imagine, in total darkness and solitude. Sure, we would be safe from embarrassment, pain and the elements of life that catch us by surprise. But, we also miss out on blushing through laughter, feeling emotions so strong that it hurts, and letting life sweep us off our feet. When people look back, generally early childhood is one of the happiest and fondest times of their lives. Was life actually better with jelly-sticky fingers, grass stained knees, and afternoon naps? Maybe so, or maybe it was better because we were so open. We hadn’t yet blocked out the world, and so each experience was felt, appreciated and fully lived. Everything was new, everything was wonderful, and we let ourselves get lost in it and in the people around us.

The happiest people you know are the ones most in tune with their inner child: the ones that laugh without a second thought, straight from the gut; the ones that act goofy and say things without fear of social modesty; the ones that love openly, affectionately and whole heartedly; the ones that act as if the human race is their fraternity; the ones that aren’t afraid to clear the bricks to make room for ray’s of joy.

Being vulnerable is the cement to build anything: a home, a career, a piece of art, a relationship and more. It is essence of happiness, the lily pad of progress toward new opportunities in our lives, the last connection we have to childhood and the most pure we are capable of being.

Now, this isn’t to say that we should be changing in public, throwing temper tantrums, and hugging strangers. But, if we just let ourselves be vulnerable to taking in the world around us, if we don’t lose our child-like wonder and freedom, if we stop building the wall: we can hold onto a joy that, otherwise, would just be a fond memory rinsed away like sticky fingers.

Being vulnerable is the key to love for yourself and others. If someone isn’t vulnerable, then they block out love in their lives and it can have devastating effects in many areas, which a lot of the time, we don’t even notice. Over time as negative life experiences happen to us, we slowly start to block out love and intimacy with others. When we do the work and can release these blocks, we can become vulnerable again and allow love and happiness to trickle back in our lives. Being vulnerable is the key to finding true happiness and love in our loves, but if and only if we are able to do the work to release the blocks we have built up since we were born.
Marty and Caroline, Life Circles