We as humans are fairly quick studies. Through the ages, in order to survive and prosper, we had to search for answers and solutions to problems. We had to discover and learn everything we could about the world we live in. As we have gathered information we have adapted to new ideas and environments. Today, more than ever, we are constantly processing information and evolving. All in order to ensure our survival as humans. In fact, survival is the single most powerful need, one all of us have in common. Whenever we feel threatened, or fear danger, our first instinct is to protect ourselves, either by fleeing or fighting. This urge to protect ourselves is not only limited to our physical well-being, we also take care to protect ourselves emotionally and spiritually.
It is this need for safety which have compelled people throughout history to build forts and castles. Villages would be surrounded by huge walls and battlements. In modern society we hide behind walls, electrical fences and security barriers. Emotionally, we build walls around our hearts. Behind these walls we feel safe. No one can breach our defenses. Nobody can exploit our vulnerability. They cannot hurt us and they cannot see our pain. There is a lot of good to be said about the protection the walls give us. However, living behind these walls comes at a price. There are distinct disadvantages. It is impossible to see beyond these walls. We become cut-off from reality. We are in danger of becoming lonely and cynical. We are unable to see the beauty which lies beyond the walls. Those on the outside can also not see our beauty. We become an oddity to them. In the process we become more and more isolated. We end up missing out on opportunities and friendships. We may even miss out on love.
Yes, certainly, the chances of getting hurt are far less living ensconced behind our barricades, but so are our chances of finding happiness, friendship, love or adventure. We become prisoners of our own fears. In the end we might be alive, but have failed to live. A favourite quote of mine is the one by Alfred Lord Tennyson :
'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
We are almost at the end of another year. It is time to take stock. maybe you have suffered heartache this year, maybe you have had a difficult time the past few months? Maybe you feel as if you want to retreat from the outside world and build a barrier between you and everyone else? Then I urge you to listen to your heart for a moment. You see, Fear whispers "It is dangerous", Knowledge shouts "It is foolish", but the heart begs "Give it one more chance."