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Why it's good to risk getting hacked—or dumped—or both

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Beth Cook is a personal coach and writer. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.

Last week I received an email message from my sister that said she had shared a Google doc with me. My sister was in London, and my doubts were high that she was creating documents while on vacation. I was right—her email had been hacked. This week, one of my online accounts was hacked. Plus I’ve received several spam messages sent from familiar names in the last couple of weeks. Hackers everywhere, I tell ya!

As I blamed Mercury for being retrograde and furiously scooted around the Web, changing the passwords to my many accounts, it occurred to me how vulnerable we all are. I do everything online… banking, business, socializing, writing about dating. Someone could really fuck up my life—remember THE NET with Sandra Bullock?!

Anyway, this feeling vulnerable thing, putting a lot out there and not knowing what you might get in return, reminded me of dating (of course).

How many times have you put yourself on the line, only to be ultimately rejected? How many times have you regretted not going after someone, because you feared rejection?

I don’t think there is anything scarier on the planet than looking for love (or a job). You’re supposed to act carefree, open-minded, patient and yet all you really want to do is either scream, “I want an oompa loompa now!” or don a suit of protective armor until it’s safe to come out (when it’s guaranteed that someone will love you back).

But there are no guarantees, in dating, in love, or in life. There will always be uncertainty. There will always be surprises. And your mission is to battle—to the death—your self-protective tendencies in order to be successful.

Remember this saying: 'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?” The whole point of relationships is to become a better person, to practice opening up, to practice loving, to learn about yourself, and to grow, over the course of your lifetime.

If you protect yourself from vulnerability, from love, from commitment, from experiencing the deep lows and super highs of life, you are missing out.

If you can accept the fact that sometimes you will not get what you want, that sometimes your email will be hacked or your love interest will let you down, and go on sharing anyway—you win. Because you’ll experience one of the greatest gifts there is: A truly intimate connection with another person (and of course, the modern conveniences of digital life).

Photo by Sean and Lauren/Flickr