Emotional Armor


 

 

       The Armor

    → Your Inner Critic

   ←  The mask we wear



I Put Down My Armor


I put down my armor today. Today, for the first time.

I traded in my warrior for a new one. The one I held so close for so many years, no longer suited me.

It was too serious, too full of steel, with too many weapons, even a helmet, to shield my face.

For all these years, I’ve gone through the world with with this armor, encased around me, like the turtle’s shell.

And even thought it felt heavy, and it weighted me down, I thought I needed to protect me.

I have a new warrior now, just as strong, though you would not know it. If you were to look closely, you might see only the tenderness, the vulnerability, and the softness.

Do not be fooled by that. Inside is the strongest I have ever been. I put down my armor today, yes I am unafraid.

I know now that I do not need steel to protect me, for I no longer need protecting. I am safe in the knowledge that the only thing I needed protecting

From the first place, was myself. I am traveling lighter, yet stronger now; I put down my armor today! - Lara ©


            _______________   _______________

We each carry emotional armor around us, designed to protect our fragile hearts and souls, the weight of the armor can become a terrible burden at times.

We all have emotional armor that has been building since we ever had our feelings hurt as a child in some form or another. When we get hurt, we want to protect ourselves and insulate our feelings. As we grow up, we start to build up layers of emotional armor to shield us from getting hurt by others. Each instance this happened another layer of armor was added to where we are now, today looking back and not even being able to see our true emotional self underneath it all. You somehow disconnected yourself from your soul and so from others. These disconnections, which keep you from being the trusting, open and self-realized person you were as a child.

It is possible to go through life with an emotional and energetic suit of armor, which protects us and allows us to function, but which does not allow for a greater level of intimacy or emotional connection with others.

In this kind of situation, the emotional, physical and energetic patterns of self protection can become so much a part of us that we no longer know of any other options. Like a fish who does not realize that he is in water, because he knows of no other options, we remain in the only environment we have known, not realizing there is any other possibility.


        


We develop invisible armor for our intangible emotions in the form of habits called defense mechanisms. These usually manifest themselves in the form of avoidance tactics. We develop mental filters to process information in a way that we can accept. We avoid things that hurt and frighten us. If we choose to engage the "enemy" and face our fears, we do so in a deluded manner. We create an alternate reality for ourselves, one that is more satisfying to our egos than the real world. 

This invisible armor seems to work at first.  We are able to steer clear of danger by developing a routine that keeps us safe. This routine provides comfort by only allowing us to associate with or engage the familiar.         We stick to what we know. We stick to people we know.  We stick to places we know. As time goes on, we make slight variations, but we never alter the plan. It has become our blueprint, our bible. It not only provides us with emotional armor, but creates a fortress of solitude around us.

Over time we start to notice that anything that exists beyond the walls of our fortress becomes foreign to us.  We lose touch with the world around us. We are unable to relate to anyone or anything that exists outside the world we have created for ourselves. Our fortress has in fact become a prison cell with a single window. Freedom is visible, but unattainable. We can see the prize, but we can’t grasp it. Our prison cell, once a comfortable hiding spot, is now a hell of our own creation. It’s drab and mundane existence is a living monument to our fears and limitations.

When the time comes that life shows us that we don’t need to continue in these old patterns, it is possible that we find ourselves afraid to let go of our defenses. In some ways, our emotional armoring was familiar, and provided a sense of safety. To think of letting this go can provoke feelings of panic or even terror, even if another part of us wants to move forward and free ourselves.

One of the reasons this can be so difficult is because our defenses became, for a time, a part of identity. When we begin to let these go, suddenly it can feel as though our very self is on the line. The question becomes, who am I if I let go of my pain? Like standing on the cliff, looking down into the abyss, it can feel like there is nothing and no one to catch us if we dare to let go of holding on.

                          _______________ _______________


When you go to great pains to keep your emotions out of harms way, it’s easy to forget how to lower your defenses when something (or someone) good comes along.  Putting yourself on an island is never a solution.   

One cannot find closeness or intimacy without risk. Protecting oneself works wonders if protection is the goal. However, if having meaningful relationships with family, friends, and co-workers is what you desire, the armor that you wear will merely get in your way. The less armor that you employ in life, the better the chance that you will have in finding and keeping good relationships with others. 

Bad experiences cause us to be more cautious and protective of our feelings. This is a necessary function.  However, things born out of necessity often become harmful to us and stunt our growth if overdone. Once the crutch is no longer needed, it must be cast aside. Sooner or later, even the greatest of warriors must return home from battle and take off his armor.

In reality, there is a natural rhythm and flow to our inner lives, so when we reach the point of being willing to open to new possibilities, new supports become available, so that we are not alone in facing our fears. It could be a new friendship or relationship, an inner sense of greater trust, or other kinds of supports that reveal themselves and help us to have the courage to open to the new and to let go of our past defenses.

In this way, we are helped to move forward in our life’s journey, and to gradually come to know more of who we are as divine eternal beings of love. When we have the courage and faith to release our hold on old ways of perceiving ourselves, a new world opens before us and reveals choices we would have previously only dreamed about. By releasing our hold on the pain, and by releasing the ways we have protected ourselves against the pain, we are born anew into a new realm of love and possibility.


             ______________   ____________________

I Put Down My Armor


I put down my armor today. Today, for the first time.

I traded in my warrior for a new one. The one I held so close for so many years, no longer suited me.

It was too serious, too full of steel, with too many weapons, even a helmet, to shield my face.

For all these years, I’ve gone through the world with with this armor, encased around me, like the turtle’s shell.

And even thought it felt heavy, and it weighted me down, I thought I needed to protect me.

I have a new warrior now, just as strong, though you would not know it. If you were to look closely, you might see only the tenderness, the vulnerability, and the softness.

Do not be fooled by that. Inside is the strongest I have ever been. I put down my armor today, yes I am unafraid.

I know now that I do not need steel to protect me, for I no longer need protecting. I am safe in the knowledge that the only thing I needed protecting

From the first place, was myself. I am traveling lighter, yet stronger now; I put down my armor today! -

Lara O'Hara


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  the mask we wear

 

 

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