From a young age I learned that not everyone is nice. Sad but true. In fact some people love to laugh at you and if they can get others to join in the laughter, they love it all the more.
As I grew older I realised people may use you for something; that something being anything from your time, money friendship, love and sex.
So it's not surprising that I started to build my own emotional suit of armour.
After each perceived injury I would stick on another piece of armour. I believed that if I built a strong skin between me and the rest of the world it would be less likely that I would be wounded. I would be less vulnerable and protected from pain.
Something else that grew under the guise of protection was anger and mistrust. I began to try and work people out rather than believe in the best of them. If I felt under attack, I would attack back ,after all, isn't the best form of defence, attack? I also began to learn that I could play the victim. It may not bring back those who had left or punish those that had hurt me but it could evoke kindness from others.
I realise that in saying this I am not painting a pretty picture of myself instead a rather manipulative one but this is how I believed you survived in the world.
That being said, the victim role didn't sit well with me. I couldn't fathom why at first but soon it became clear. In being a victim I was giving away even more of my power. I was presenting myself as useless, weak and a target which was far from who I wanted to be, so a fighter I would remain. The armour grew thicker and stronger, as did the unexpressed rage and possible roots of depression.
Unfortunately no matter how well constructed the armour was, it had weak spots. These weak spots were necessary for me to be able to move, breathe and live but if I was wounded in those places and then covered them with more armour, I limited my movement and world even more so.
I also sealed the wounds in. Everything inside the armour was stuck there. It couldn't be released. There I was, inside my armour with my wounds bleeding out and no room to move and more importantly, no room to heal and grow.
What I failed to see was that I was limiting my experience of the world to the pain that I held within my armour. I was judging the world as a dangerous place that had to be navigated with extreme caution and never without protection. Was this to be my life? Haunted by pain of the past and fear of the future?
If I wanted things to change, I had to heal and with healing comes growth.
Take a pot plant; when we pot it, it will grow as big as it can within that plant pot. If it is not then re-potted in a larger pot, it's growth will be stunted.
Also, if we cover a plant , stopping the sun and rain getting to it, it will likely wither away.
I began to see my armour as the smaller pot and the so called protection that stops me getting what I needed. I wanted to grow, to evolve but couldn't because of my armour. My protective barrier was in fact now my prison.
If you have been hurt you won't need me to tell you how difficult it can be to move on. Often trust has been broken and our human brains are quick to generalise and tell us to beware. Stay safe in your armour and don't be abused again.
And yet to able to grow, we need to create a space for us to do so. We need to begin to let go of the armour we so adamantly held on to for so long. Letting pieces fall away so we can see ourselves. We can see the scars that took so long to heal and we can honour what they taught us. We can enjoy the feeling of breathing deeply and the sun warming our faces. We can feel the freedom we missed while ensconced in our personal prison.
We need room to grow, in fact we cannot grow with out it.
Is there something you feel stuck in? A situation, emotion or belief? What would aid your growth? Armour or less?