How many times can one go through heartache, disappointment, betrayal, tragedy, unforeseen events and come out unscathed? How do you remain optimistic? How do you not curl up in a shell or build fortes so that no one ever gets in because you feel unsafe. You feel hurt and the idea of one more time is too taxing and burdensome to bear.
Me ( raised hand emoji). You. We. We have all been there. It's the all too familiar fear of rejection and we say we have to preserve ourselves. However in doing this, we also self reject and we create a world that does not allow us to be vulnerable. Vulnerability becomes the enemy because we do not want to face another ounce of pain. However all of that armor further alienates us from connection, having emotional moments, creating linkages that are meaningful. The reality is that self preservation robs us from taking risks and creates a false sense of safety.
The path to vulnerability is just as risky, it allows room for judgement but it can create connection. Other people can get close to you and relate. We can let the emotional armor go and self protection doesn't have to be on auto pilot.
How do we try to counteract this?
1. Don't assume that everyone has ill intentions.
2.Don't push other people away or self sabotage, recognize when you are picking up your armor.
3. Call yourself out, " I'm doing it again" to yourself.
4. Recognize your behavioral patterns and tell the folks you have hurt.
5. Give yourself grace.
Shutting down and distancing yourself from others is normal but staying there and creating a cozy cabin drives you away from the intimacy that you seek. Find your way back to the ones you love and that requires a lot of strength. However doing this is a lot less heavier than all that armor you have to put on.