It just feels safe. We just seek protection. Our intention is not to hurt anymore, almost at any cost. The feelings of pain, disappointment, unanswered questions all weigh upon us and we must seek relief. As a defense mechanism or a survival skill we cut ourselves off from the pain's source. We choose to disconnect from the depth of our pain so we can manage ourselves through life. Time passes and wounds heal. The sting fades and ability to function returns. We have seemingly been able to return to the routine of life but something is different. We may not even be able to put our finger on it. We put our heads down and go deeper into what we know. We think about our feelings. Think about what we are feeling and what we are not. We think that thinking about feelings is the same as feeling feelings and that great depth of thinking is equaled to great depth of feeling.

At some point it hits us. Relationships don't work out or they become superficial. We struggle with our ability to obtain intimacy in relationships. We feel less connected in the bedroom and the act of sex becomes more about obligation than it does about communication. We find ways to numb the pain and distract ourselves. It is easier to replace relationships with our career or children. And too easy to hide behind the all too convenient excuses, "I just don't have the time," or "My children need me."

Regardless of our gender, we are emotional creatures. Emotions are our fuel. The emotions that we consistently live in ultimately define our lives. In the moments that relationships cause pain, we form meaning that equals pain. In childhood it's with parents, teachers, and peers. The teenage years we add romantic or desired based relationships. In our adult life it's where we seek meaningful and committed relationships. In other words, we link up the feelings in and around relationships as painful. We flip the switch and either avoid the relationships that drive us into vulnerability or worse, avoid the feelings that we have associated to it. We trade love for safety and depth of emotions and meaning for short-term sensations. Trading only leaves us holding on tighter to what we know and keeping us further away from what we desire.

The conundrum is that we fear what we need in order to obtain what we desire. Funny how life challenges us directly. It is the willingness to feel the depth of the pain so that we can experience the joy of the pinnacle of loving and living. We must courageously step into the vulnerability of our emotions so that we can share our true selves to others and the world. Looking from the outside in, this seems as a foolish proposition. Almost as if we are setting ourselves up for pain and heartache. We have confused vulnerability with naivety. We have conditioned ourselves to stop at the border of vulnerability. We have never pushed through to what lies on the other side of vulnerability, and that is strength. Strength is what allows us to open up when the person or moment warrants such. In those times we offer unfettered access to our heart and emotions. Not every one, nor every moment is worthy. However in those times when it is worthy we come from a place of strength knowing that no matter what the other person does or the moment brings - all that we need is within us. No one, no event can ever take away what is inside of you. Your love, heart, and soul is of you. It is as intrinsic and innate as warmth is to the sun and depth is to the sea.

To reach this place we must becoming willing to feel - to love and live life at our greatest depth. We must become willing to do so at any cost, fearless in our approach. The willingness must exist before the person or the moment. If not, we will credit not ourselves but rather something other than ourselves for giving us this ability. We will live in constant fear of losing what has been given to us and return to protection by contracting rather than expanding.

This is not easy but is it living life on its own terms in complete abundance. We choose to do such, not so that we will receive but rather so that we can give. In return, we are blessed with the fruits of what we have sowed. Not because we fear but because we can.

Author's Bio: 

Joe White
Get Life Coaching
2008 Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year

Long before most people had even heard of Personal or Business Coaching, Joe had begun his passion for working with individuals and businesses to achieve their goals. Joe founded Get Life Coaching in his basement with one client in 1999. Since that time, he has coached hundreds of individuals and businesses and thousands have attended his seminars and speaking engagements. Joe was recognized as the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce’s 2008 Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year.

Today, Get Life Coaching has multiple offices and serves a client base across Delaware, Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, Eastern Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Get Life Coaching is focused on helping individuals and businesses identify what is important to them, understand what is holding them back, develop effective strategies for reaching their goals, and maintain the necessary focus to succeed. By providing effective tools, increasing understanding, and establishing personal accountability, Get Life Coaching helps its clients turn their “shoulds” into “musts”. Joe also conducts Life Coaching Certification courses and has trained therapists, counselors, and other life coaches.

Joe White is recognized as a leader in personal and professional development. He is a sought after keynote speaker who brings depth, insights, and energy into his presentations. He has created and conducted programs for Fortune 500 companies as well as top local businesses including: J.P. Morgan Chase, University of Delaware, Christiana High School, World Tang Soo Do Organization, and martial arts schools across the country. Joe is also a frequent speaker at local schools and at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. He is a regular featured writer for Living Well Magazine and has been an on-air expert on national and local radio shows.