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Last week, I talked about how selfishness and generosity form a positive correlative relationship. This relationship depends on determining what is beneficial to both you and the other person. But how do you tap into this relationship in order to get what you want out of life, while improving the lives of others?
Scary word, no? Who wants to be vulnerable and show people all their flaws, weaknesses, and fears? Yuck. Much better to act like you invented swag and grow it in your personal vegetable garden.
Vulnerability means you’re being open and honest. If you’re open, you’re clearing the pathways for things to come out and for things to come in, which means you are able to give of yourself but you’re also able to receive.
A Two-Way Street
We feel we’re not getting enough from the world; not enough love, not enough validation, not enough success, not enough money, not enough joy. It’s no surprise we’re not getting the most of out life if we feel we need to walk around with a poker face and not show any of our cards in order for the world to show us its hand and lavish us with blessings. How can the world show us its hand or lavish us with anything if we shut off any conceivable means of doing so?
A Renaissance for Your Life
How did the enduring civilizations flourish? Trade. Trade of ideas and trade of goods. How did trade flourish? Unobstructed and free trade routes that went in two directions.
Think of yourself like a fortress with an entrance protected by a great draw-bridge, and surrounded by a moat. If you lock the entrance and draw up the bridge, how will your merchants trade with anyone? How will your farmers enter, bearing food to feed your townspeople? How will scholars, visitors, and distinguished dignitaries enter? How will you exchange goods and ideas that will facilitate expansion for both you and the surrounding towns?
You need to have your drawbridge down if you want to get good things out of life. Being open means you give the gift of you to the world, and you receive gifts in return. You have to allow for the free exchange of energy between your person and others.
The Gift of Vulnerability
Let me backtrack to last week’s article. I have a friend with whom I often discuss personal and spiritual development and things like Kabbalah and the Law of Attraction. I told her I’d love for her to write an article for this blog. However, a few days afterwards she sent me an email saying she didn’t feel her life was exemplary enough to write an article. She said she feels she follows the principles of Kabbalah and the Law of Attraction and shares her time, energy, and resources, only to find she doesn’t have enough for herself. She said it seemed that one needs a healthy dose of selfishness to truly live a healthy and functional life.
Now, as per her email, it would appear that she was withholding love from me. After all, hadn’t I asked her for something and been rejected? Wasn’t she being selfish and withholding love from me? Quite the opposite!
What she actually gave me was a MUCH bigger gift – the gift of being honest and vulnerable to me. She allowed me to see how she was struggling with a certain principle in her life. Because I am not her, and am therefore objective to her life, I saw her issue much more clearly than she did. I saw how she was wrongly applying the Law of Attraction in her life. I saw that she was doing more indulging than sharing.
And what I saw mirrored my own life.
Her email held up a mirror to my struggles, allowing me to see my mistakes with startling clarity.
And I started to think. I started to ruminate. I hemmed and hawed about this on an hour long walk in sunny Marina del Rey.
And then… and then… I started to realize a few things and make decisions. I realized I needed to determine more closely why I was doing certain things. I decided that what I needed to work on was this tendency to indulge myself and others in our symbiotic weaknesses.
It was only by her being open and honest that she gave me a gift far greater than a blog article. She inadvertently showed me my mistakes, and how to fix them. But she had to be selfish in order to be generous. And she had to be vulnerable in order to give those gifts to both herself and to me. By “selfishly” being open about her troubles to me, she gave me huge gift, which I was then able to give back to her.
Vulnerability is Key to the Selfish-Generous Relationship.
Humans are afraid to be vulnerable. That goes without saying. We don’t want to show our weakness or we don’t want to “burden” others with our problems or our insecurities. We are afraid that we might come off a selfish – always talking about ourselves and our troubles. And while we should take care to not monopolize the conversation with every ache and problem we have, we also can’t NOT talk about our problems in an effort to keep the attention off of ourselves and to no appear selfish.
This is a problem I have, and I know that many people have it as well. You’re afraid to be open and vulnerable; partially because you’re afraid of others seeing your flaws, but also because you feel undeserving of sharing your true self. You feel you would be selfishly foisting a burden onto others by doing so.
Vulnerability is the means of Attraction.
But sometimes, what you think is selfishness is actually a courageous act of love. If my friend hadn’t made me privy to her vulnerabilities, I would have never learned a great lesson.
We’re not giving, loving, or generous when we try to figure out what the other person wants on the outer, physical level.
It’s only through being honest and vulnerable that we give the world a great gift. We can only be generous and loving when we are totally open – open with both the positive and happy and the negative and troubled in ourselves. By being vulnerable, you open the windows of your soul to the wonderful sunshine outside. You let the sunshine in, and you make it possible for the world to delight with your presence! That’s how the Law of Attraction works.
Are there areas in your life where you think you’re being generous, but, on second thought, you may not be? I’d love to know! For both your and my benefit! 😉
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