Post from January 15, 2015 (↻ June 8, 2021), filed under Everything Else.
This is indeed, as I’m suggesting at the end, unedited. I was tempted to tweak here and there, switch to “we,” use less absolute terms, add qualifiers. But that would have defeated the original idea. Lean in.
Love is vulnerability.
First and foremost, love is vulnerability.
It took me many years to recognize this. Many years in which there wasn’t much love in my life, even permitted in my life. I had locked it all out, out of fear to be… vulnerable.
Love is vulnerability because it involves your surrounding, and you can’t connect or be open to your surrounding when you shut it all out. Here, you can’t see without being seen.
Love hurts precisely because one has to be vulnerable to give and receive it. And love is not a one-way street, in that you could either just give it or just receive it. You will not truly accept and feel love if all you can do is receive it; and you will not truly love, not put your whole weight behind it if all you do is give it. Both may not be real love.
My early love got beaten so badly that I worked hard to not be vulnerable to this form of abuse. But I did not realize, and nobody had taught me, that that would come at a terrible toll: I shut out all love of my life, too. I never gave myself to the idea that I only gave or received love; while I knew it was somewhere inside of me, heaps of it, I had lost it all.
I’m demonstrating some vulnerability by not even editing this post again. By not redacting it. And, of course, by sharing it openly.
It is quite uncanny for those who decided to be flawless, to discover and lean into vulnerability: but love is vulnerability, and we want love, and not the hollow, brittle castle walls of perfection.
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have questions or suggestions about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message.
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Perhaps my most comprehensive book: The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.