We’ve all had the experience of having two really strong feelings that seem to be pulling us in opposite directions.
For many of us, the one area of life that this feels the strongest is in relationships.
Whether it’s a romantic relationship, a friendship or a work relationship, we all have felt the desire to open up and feel closer to someone and at the same time have felt an equally strong or stronger desire to keep from getting hurt in the process.
Past memories of having opened up to people who later did not meet our expectations, can quickly come up along with strong feelings of fear to shut down or hold back our desire to get closer.
Sometimes we stay in this “no man’s”, “no woman’s” or “no friend’s” zone for long periods, never quite opening up very much and doing our best to stay safe.
We can try to sell this strategy to ourselves in any number of ways by telling ourselves things like: “I don’t have time for a relationship right now”, or “People don’t really understand me”, or “I’m happier by myself” etc.
While any of these might be true on one level, if we are feeling a strong desire to open up and connect with people and we’re not doing it, then this is just the fear talking.
What if there was a way to open up to people without the possibility of being hurt?
What if these two possibilities – opening up your heart and you getting hurt – were not actually tied to together in reality at all?
What if there was a way that you could experience all the connection, collaboration, excitement, joy and love of sharing yourself with someone, or someones, and know ahead of time that it would be impossible for it to turn out in a way where you would feel hurt?
How would you feel about opening yourself to others then?
Understanding three things can shift your experience of how you relate to everyone for the rest of your life and help you move beyond the concern of being hurt.
. Understanding Your Three Brains
The latest studies on the brain have revealed that we actually have three separate parts of our brain. These three parts were developed during different stages of our evolution as a species and each one is best equipped to handle us surviving at those different stages in human evolution.
Brian number one is called our reptile brain and it developed the ability to do anything necessary for us to survive. This part can only really experience our own point of view and is not skilled at connecting with others. This is also the part of our brain where most of our fear is generated.
Brain number two is called our mammalian brain and it has developed the ability to connect and bond with other people. This part also allows us to feel empathy, love and connection and to see things from another person’s point of view.
Brain number three, or the thinking brain has developed the ability to handle analytical thinking and it allows us to see situations more objectively and strategically as well as to project into the future and make predictions about what might happen.
It’s been found that these three brains do not communicate very well with one another and they often times compete for our attention. When we experience a strong pull in two directions, often times this is due to two of our brains reacting to a situation differently.
In dealing with people, our mammalian brain might feel like opening up to someone and then our reptilian brain steps in and says “Wait a minute! This person might be a threat to our survival!” and then we feel pulled in two directions.
. Understanding the Energy “You”
Some of the latest scientific research has been revealing that we are much more than our bodies and our brains. Scientists have been finding that at our deepest level, what holds our body and everything we experience together is a field of energy.
There have been several different names for this energy, but the basic idea is that matter is made of and held together by an underlying energy that permeates everything in the universe.
Scientists have found that each human has their very own bubble of this energy that surrounds and flows through our bodies and is replenishing this energy every moment. It’s like we are walking around with our very own completely self sustaining world that is constantly giving us a fresh new supply of the very substance that all of creation is made of and held together by.
While this may sound fantastical and so “out there” that we might wonder how it could ever be practical to know about for our daily lives, many researchers are discovering that it may be a main key in learning how we can improve the quality of our lives.
Recent brain scan studies suggest that the happiest people focus less on the messages coming from their three brains and more on this energy bubble itself. These people have developed the ability to experience themselves as more than whatever thoughts their three brains happen to be generating. They experience themselves as being way bigger and more unlimited than how our three brains tend to think of us.
During a stroke, brain researcher Jill Bolt Taylor had the experience of her brain loosing the ability to function normally. Her attention was freed to experience more of her energy than the thought activity in her brain and she describes the feeling as feeling herself as “expansive and enormous…like she found nirvana”.
The famous spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle describes his moment of sudden awakening after being so caught up in focusing on the thoughts of his brain that he was on the edge of suicide, that in one night, his attention was freed from what he calls his Ego, and he was able to focus more on the energy of his energy field where he now experiences a constant state of bliss.
Many fields of research are now pointing towards the understanding that we are more, probably way more, than what can ever be conceptualized by the thoughts of our three brains.
. How to Fully Open Up Without Getting Hurt in Relationships
When we struggle in relationships, we are not struggling with the other person or with other people as much as we are struggling with one main assumption our brain has picked up and held onto that allows our brain’s fear to be triggered when we relate to other people
Our brain has picked up the assumption that we are something less than the source of all the love we want to feel in our lives.
When we hold onto the assumption that we are something less than the source of the love we want to feel, we then act from this assumption and try to get the feeling of love, connection etc., from things and other people.
What many people are discovering is that this is backwards from the way great relationships of all kinds happen.
When we allow ourselves to let go of this assumption and instead we start choosing to experience the feelings of love, connection, joy etc that we are wanting our relationships to feel like first, without expecting that any relationship will supply these feelings for us, two things happen.
The first thing is we realize that we actually can feel these feelings without anyone else having to do something for or with us. We realize at a gut level that we have access to these feelings whenever we want regardless of who or what happens to be in our lives at any given moment. We are essentially feeling our connection to our energy bubble and realizing we are connected to these feelings always no matter what and we can at any moment choose to feel them. Because we feel this connection, we realize no other person ever has the ability to separate us from the feelings of love, connection, etc no matter what they choose to do or not do. This distinction can allow you to fully open up to other people without the fear of getting hurt in relationships.
The second thing that happens is that other people react to this shift in our understanding. Without you having to say of do anything in particular, people will experience you differently because you actually are different. You are no longer looking outside of yourself to other things or people to gain access to the feelings you want. This can be a tremendous amount of pressure taken off of anyone who truly cares about you, or could truly care about you, because they no longer feel the burden, (either consciously or unconsciously) of feeling your expectations of them. They feel much freer to express themselves and feel good around you.
This can have the opposite effect on people who do not truly care about you. If there are people in your life who have been feeding off of your patterns of trying to get love or attention from them, then they might suddenly feel like something is wrong. Because they are no longer getting the same reactions and emotions from you, they might become less excited to be around you. This can be a good thing for you, because you can quickly discover who truly loves you being happier and who doesn’t.
In choosing to experience the feelings of how you want your relationships to feel first, you will naturally attract people who will love you feeling that way, and you will naturally repel people who don’t.
The next time you feel pulled by the two emotions of wanting to open up to others but not get hurt, try out these five steps to discover more of your unique and valuable ability to be the source of all the love you want and open yourself to others without getting hurt.
Step 1) Keep doing exactly what you are doing until you are ready to take steps two through five. If you are ready, then move to step 2:
Step 2) Ask yourself:
“How am I not feeling like the source of all the love I want right now? What am I thinking about instead?”
Step 3) Once you are clear about what you are thinking about, ask yourself:
“What am I thinking this could prove about me?”
Fill in the blank: “That maybe I am not _____________ enough.”
Step 4) Let go of this assumption if you are ready to. If you are not ready to, go back to step one.
If you are ready to, let the assumption that maybe you are not ________ enough go, and allow yourself to feel the energy of being the source of all the love you want now.
If this feels a little challenging, ask yourself:
“What would it feel like if I knew I was the source of all the love in my life right now?” And then allow yourself to fully feel all those feelings.
Step 5) Ask yourself:
“What’s possible now?”