Do you find yourself watching life happening to others instead of fully living your own life? Would you rather help others have the best of everything than ensuring you have the best of every experience? Do you keep people at arm’s length, assuming they just won’t get it? Do you often find reasons to opt out of new experiences?
Once your life has fallen apart, once you’ve personally experienced the fact that life doesn’t go according to plan, once you’ve had the rug pulled out from under you – you change.
Walls go up. Without you even realizing it, your body is tense, waiting for the next shoe to drop. Subconsciously you are finding ways to protect yourself from similar tragedy ever striking again. Sound familiar? It’s human nature. We want to prepare ourselves, preserve ourselves from anymore pain. We’ve learned the hard way that tragedy strikes and we fear feeling the pain and going through that kind of struggle again.
What I’ve discovered (from much personal experience) is this…it’s easy to subconsciously take all of the lessons from previous hurts and tragedies and combine them into a toxic soup of defense mechanisms that protect from the hurts already experienced. So, in reality we are retro-actively trying to run defense on the things that happened anywhere from two to twenty years ago. The problem is this doesn’t actually provide protection from whatever new hurts may be lurking out there now.
Unfortunately, life still happens. Bad things still may happen, and chances are pretty good ‘bad’ wouldn’t even strike the same way it did before so the defense system you’ve got in place would be protecting the wrong border. But ‘good’ also still happens, amazing also still unfolds. So, instead your defense may be insulating you from the good, the amazing and feeling and connecting.
Life is messy and textured and full of feelings – warm and fuzzy and prickly and ouchy. And beautiful. If we are so committed to protecting ourselves from the ouch (which in all reality we really can’t protect ourselves from) we also miss out on the amazing experiences and connections that come from fully participating in life. From trusting ourselves.
“Trusting ourselves?” Yes. You’ve gone through the worst. You’ve weathered intense storms. You’re still standing, okay…well sometimes sitting exhausted, but still here ;). You’ve got this! You’ve acquired skills, tools, and strength. Out of anyone, you are best prepared to walk into your life head on, ready to embrace it. Because you’ve been through the worst and are coming out a deeper, richer person. Celebrate that!! Embrace life, take healthy risks. Experience that new thing. Reach out to that new person. Share your heart with the person you’ve kept at arm’s length out of fear. Yep, you still make get bumps and bruises, but I guarantee you, it sure is better than sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else enjoy the game.