The first time we are rejected, laughed at, misunderstood, and/or overlooked by our peers or family members we begin the self-destructive pattern of self-protection. Self-protection is the quiet choice we make to take a step back so we can fit in, it’s the way we hide, it’s the way we detach so we can feel safe.
We begin to numb ourselves or hid behind a more likable version of our self, shutting down our true selves more and more with each quiet choice. The masks we use for protection feel safe, just like the walls we built around our hearts. The safety we once felt begins to fade as we realize we are suffocating behind the masks and walls unable to breathe. This info-graph is based on Sigmund Freud’s thoughts on defense mechanisms and hopefully can help you understand different ways that self-protection can manifest in people.
Most of the people I work with through SoulCare have spent years numbing, hiding, and pushing away any perceived negative emotions and eventually implode or caused their life to explode creating a level of crisis that could be avoided if dealt with little by little instead of erupting like a volcano on an unsuspecting Tuesday night. That’s when I am called in, “Stephanie, I am not sure what just happened but I exploded all over Tuesday and I don’t know how to put it all back in.” I respond, “Well Karen, Tuesday will never look the same.” Just kidding… I don’t say that, I might think it but I don’t say it. Once the implosion or explosion takes place clean up is a little more difficult, putting the years of unexpressed emotions “back in” isn’t a real thing. This is why I am developing a course and material for people to work through before the implosion or explosion takes place. Exploding is something we do on other people. Imagine every negative feeling you have pushed down over a lifetime erupting on one person. Exploding is dangerous to our relationships because during the explosion you might and probably will say things that will hurt whoever is in the receiving end. Imploding is something we do to ourselves. Imploding is dangerous for us and usually manifest in our physical bodies as autoimmune disease, cancer, severe depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. Implosion can cause long-term damage to our health. Here’s the deal the numbing only works for so long, the feelings eventually demand to be felt. You will become like a trash compactor that doesn’t have room to compact one more thing and will explode with what looks like years of un-compacted garbage being spewed all over the place leaving the audience (usually a somewhat innocent victim of bad timing) feeling confused, “Karen, I asked you to pass the salt. I didn’t mean to unleash the beast inside you that hasn’t got to use the salt first for the last twenty-five years, I have only known you for one.” or it might manifest as a string of unexplained sicknesses that keep you from living your day-to-day life. You can bypass the implosion and/or explosion by unpacking your junk and deconstructing the identity you created in hopes to be accepted, connecting with your true-self, and re-building your life from there. We disconnect to be accepted when we are children not realizing that acceptance like that isn’t really acceptance at all. Connection can only take place when authenticity is present, you cannot be authentic and fake (masked or hidden) at the same time.
This is one of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis. The cost of love is vulnerability and if you refuse to pay you will find yourself isolated and alone.
Are you ready to start the journey of unpacking your junk?
Start with this daily affirmation Place one hand on your heart and close your eyes. Take several deep breaths, focusing on filling your lungs to full capacity and letting go of the breathe slowly and smoothly. Repeat the following to yourself or out-loud (if you are alone), “I am safe to explore who I am, I am safe to come out of hiding, I am safe to feel, I am safe to be known, I am safe to be seen, I am safe to be loved, I am safe.” Take a couple more deep breaths think about believing and receiving those I am statements as truth and imagine letting go of any thoughts that disagree with what you just said on the exhales. Repeat several times a day and for as long as it takes until you believe each statement to be true.