Sunday, October 7, 2012

Self Protection

We human beings work very, very hard to protect ourselves emotionally.  And with good reason.  The ways we can be hurt are many, and it doesn't take much to get through our defenses, when we are so fragile, in so many ways, and with such thin resources most of the time.

Most of us, most of the time, are just barely on the other side of well-fed and well-rested, let alone centered in a space of reflection and refreshment.  And so many of us have no place of solitude or renewal to replenish our hearts, minds and spirits.  So the world and the people in it, can be draining and difficult even when we care deeply for them.

I see this in myself too.  A little extra tiredness, too much hunger or overwork and my emotional balance, usually so strongly present, begins to wobble.  If I'm lucky, I can just rest and come back to myself, but it's not always so easy.  And often, I have to do some real soul searching to see where I need to be and how, and what needs to change to come back to a place of 'ok.'

I am trying to build a habit around something I believe deeply.  Not simply to protect myself emotionally, but to build a foundation of real strength internally.  And that habit is to ask myself at every turn, is this what I am choosing?  Do I understand that whatever is happening is a result of my own choices, my own thinking and my own decisions.  And that I cannot blame others for the consequences.  And if I don't like where I'm headed, then it is my job first to change direction.

I would love to think that if others love or care about me enough, that they will know how to take care of me, that they will silently rescue me, but I know such pure fantasy is just the stuff of little-girl dreams.  That the other people who we share this planet with don't have the capacity to save me, no matter how much they love me.  That this isn't what we can offer each other.

And there are no guarantees.  There are no guarantees in love or relationship, so you better be sure you are in it for the right reasons, the reasons that matter to you, and that you check that at every step.  Because beyond that moment, the moment of the present, nothing is certain, nothing is for sure, nothing can be promised.

I love the optimism that we can promise each other true love forever.  But I prefer the reality of offering love for real in every moment that it can actually be offered, instead of investing in a promise that may be impossible to keep.

I'm not sure if that makes me a cynic or a hopeless romantic.  And I'm not sure it matters.  I think we've bought into some psychological mythology about what relationships should look like and how they should work and what we should need and want and how to get it.

But I don't care for the way modern life has sucked the magic out of most of what we do.  I don't love the deconstructed reality of talk shows and sound bites.  I don't care so much for the self-help books that give me steps on improving everything, as if I'm some to-do list and my nature and future are so easily managed and defined.

I am ok with not knowing how everything is going to turn out, and I know there are lots of risks involved, but there's no way around that actually.  There's no way around what being human looks like and staying open to life's most profound experiences, and needing to be safe and secure at every moment too.  Something's gotta give.

On some level, I've always chosen risk.  And I've never been sorry for at least trying.

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