Drop Your Sword
When we are little, we are betrayed. At some point, by someone. Maybe a friend. Maybe a teacher. Maybe a parent. I remember an authority figure calling me a liar when I was little. The reason it hurt so much was because it was untrue. I had not lied. I realized then that people don't always accurately depict your character. They can be wrong. As a small child, that was kind of terrifying. What other things might people think of me? What other things might they say? Could people really go around in the world thinking they know me and not knowing me at all???
Of course, as we age, this becomes more and more evident as it increases in frequency. We are betrayed by a boyfriend. We are betrayed by a co-worker. A best friend. Our kid says something remarkably true (and hurtful). Nothing is safe! No one is safe!
If not properly dealt with, we became defensive people who always have their guard up. It's as though we are walking around with shields in front of us and heavy swords at our sides. The weight can sometimes feel like too much to bear. It's exhausting constantly being on the lookout for the enemy. Ready to strike at any time. We feel safer in our armor. We feel safer with out swords. But heavier. Much, much heavier. It's hard to feel like you are known and it's hard to know others when you're looking through a helmet and separated by impenetrable metal.
Here's the thing about taking it all off though... you are suddenly vulnerable. You are at risk. In fact, you walk around with a sign on you forehead that says, "I'm open to pain! Choose me to walk all over!" and that, my friends, is STRAIGHT UP TERRIFYING. Yes, it's easier to hug people. It's easier to have meaningful conversations. It's easier to connect and share and join up with others in a thousand different ways. It's lighter. It's freer. It's cooler.
BUT IT'S SCARY AS HELL.
What's to be done then? If one wants to love and connect but one is afraid of pain?
You can't have both safety and love. It just doesn't work that way. The ecstasy of love is in the possibility of pain. The two are inextricably linked. You know that it's precious. It's fleeting. It's not yours to keep forever. That makes it special and valuable and something that feels really incredible to be a part of. You have to treat it with care and honor.
You have to share your vulnerability with others. This creates intimacy. This creates trust. This creates joy.
What does it look & feel like to live from a place of defense?
- You don't trust people
- You lead with your guard up
- You over-explain
- You feel on edge and tight
- Your heart is closed
- You assume people are out to get you
- Everyone is a threat
- You constantly look for ways to keep people out/away
- You hoard resources
- You feel alone
- It's you against "the world"
- You live in the past (I can't let "that thing" happen to me again...)
- Everyone is the enemy
- You are at war
- When other people are warm/kind/open you are suspicious
What is the cost of living from a place of defense?
- People are scared of you
- People aren't sure they want to get close
- People retreat into themselves when they are around you
- Relationships (especially intimate ones) become really tough
- You feel lonely
- You feel afraid
- You feel suspicious all of the time
- You are paranoid
- You create a world that is small and safe & feels within your control
- You close yourself off to love and intimacy
- You lose out on the joy of a team
- You stop learning and growing as you "hole up" within yourself
- You stunt your creativity
What's the possibility when you lay it all down?
- Ecstatic love
For each of us, we have to come to a place of choice. We have to choose which path to take. Most humans choose one on certain days (and with certain people) and another on other days (and with other people).
We're a mix of defense and vulnerability depending on our bravery level at any given moment. That's normal.
That's to be expected. We are all on a journey toward choosing vulnerability more often than comfort.
For some, however, the choice to avoid pain is so strong that it leads them. They present to others with heavy armor in most areas of their life... as a boss, as a friend, as a co-worker, as a partner. This kind of pain avoidance cripples their joy and they feel helpless, sad and lonely much of the time. It's very hard to identify the reason why when you are in this place. It just feels like something is off and you're on the search to fix it but nothing is working. "Why am I so unhappy? Why is nothing working? Why am I lonely? Why am I so misunderstood???"
It can seem so clear from the outside. You want to shout, "Take it off! Drop the armor!" But alas, you cannot. They can't hear you. It's something they need to discover on their own. It's work that's best done on the inside. Eventually it will get too heavy. Too sweaty. Too tough. Eventually it always does.
If you are someone who feels this applies to YOU, then we should talk. We'll make a plan to get you on a path to your dreams as you overcome the hurdle of fear. Head on over to the shop to purchase a free coffee date and we'll discuss how you can move forward in a freer and happier way.