top of page

Trust, Heartbreak, & Vulnerability

Trust is built in the smallest of moments. The Sliding Door moments. “There is the opportunity to build trust and there is the opportunity to betray.” Because as small as the moments of trust can be, those are the moments of betrayal as well. To choose to not connect when the opportunity is there is a betrayal. --John & Julie Gottman

Brene Brown + John & Julie Gottman This is a fantastic conversation.

Trust and heartbreak and vulnerability are concepts I have been exploring deeply. This is going to be an open blog post (meaning I'll keep coming back to it to share my insights) because these are such dynamic topics that I will always be learning.


Vulnerability is risk, uncertainty, and emotional exposure (definition by Brene Brown). This morning I was questioning if vulnerability is individual or shared in relationships. As usual, the answer I came up with is that it is both individual and shared. It is something that we all experience on our own and in relationships, it is not guaranteed that the same experiences will cultivate a sense of vulnerability for both people. In reality, the exact same experience can often lead to increased vulnerability for one person and decreased vulnerability for the other person. I have realized that we can be together experiencing vulnerability, but in opposing directions. This realization has led me to think about another meaningful definition from Brene Brown's work: paradox - holding the tension of opposites. I am a devoted listener to both of Brene's podcasts, Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead, and these are two conversations that I found really helpful for my understanding of paradox.

From Brene's conversation with Mark and Jay Duplass: The Carl Jung definition of paradox is - “Paradox is one of our most valued spiritual possessions because only paradox comes anywhere near the ability to comprehend the fullness of life. It’s the natural medium for expressing trans-conscious facts. The union of opposites is a trans-conscious process and, in principle, not amenable to scientific explanation"....she says to them "So, my overarching theory is paradox is so powerful in you, I do think you can hold tension and create a whole new third space by doing that, which is full of love and honesty and truth in a way that other people can’t do."

From Brene's conversation with Esther Perel: Esther says "You have this definition somewhere of vulnerability as comprising, emotional exposure, risk and uncertainty, and I thought, this is actually not just the definition of vulnerability inside of us, this is actually a definition of the world we live in. It’s no longer just an individual experience, it is really a collective experience. We are in a phase of prolonged uncertainty, with no end in sight whatsoever, we are dealing with risk and trust, and risk and safety, and we’re struggling that whole thing, and then we are trying to remain connected in the midst of all of that. And what is the emotional exposure that that connection invites us to do? And I just thought your triad here is just a perfect description of the world at large, and not just of the individual psychology....It’s thesis antithesis. It’s the ability to straddle contradictory beliefs, attitudes, feelings at the same time without having to think that it’s an either/or, this or that. Which is when I said there are those people and those people… I keep wanting to say I speak as if it’s binary, but it really is a tension. I am interested in that tension between those two polarities. That’s the paradox. Look, I think that is one of the things we share a lot. I wrote Mating in Captivity to explore the paradox between love and desire, between our need for security and our need for adventure, our wish for commitment but our longing for freedom, our quest for togetherness, but our hunger for separateness, for safety and excited. The whole book was examining that tension of these two fundamental sets of human needs that we have from Ulysses on, the journey and the home."

1 commentaire

Eric Vogt
Eric Vogt
22 juin

...I believe it was Thich Nhat Hanh, "You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free."

bottom of page