It was a moment of overwhelming hopelessness.
The emotional pain was so intense it radiated to my bones, heart, and stomach.
Every single aspect of my being had been attacked and obliterated, and I was left behind; humiliated, unloved, insulted, rejected and betrayed.
The wound was so large; it seemed like the pain and emotion were bleeding from my shattered soul.
And while I was sitting there, witnessing the stream of emotions and anguish, I vowed never to allow this to happen again, never would anyone hurt me ever again like this!
So, coming to my senses, I pulled out the drafting board and started outlining an impregnable armor, made with the steel of apathy, and hammered together with nails of indifference.
It would fit perfectly around my heart, and never would anyone break its bonds, It would be safe forever!
When looking around, countless people have devised their own creations, be it as armors or walls, all of them with the aim to protect themselves from any form of emotional assaults.
Over time most of them discover, just like I did, that these contraptions are not sustainable. While the barriers indeed make it impossible for emotional attacks to penetrate, likewise it is difficult to send out any emotional messages, positive or negative.
This emotional block does not only apply towards others but also to yourself. What you are feeling is constrained in one small cage, never allowed outside of it. As sounds of your ‘heart’ are muffled, it is hard for you to pick up the signals that tell you how to act in certain situations.
The word ‘Emotion,’ ‘move’ and ‘motivate’ all find their origin in the same Latin word ‘ēmovēre,‘ from ‘ē’ (out) and ‘movēre‘ (move). Basically, it means, “what makes us move or act.”
Psychological studies have rendered enough evidence for scientists to accept that experiencing emotions is essential for us to take personal and meaningful action.
As our carefully constructed armor constricts our feelings to the area of its prison, the signals that motivate us and make us act, are no longer perceived. We could say that while even the emotions are still there, their effect is so insignificant, that it would be like being without feelings.
And without any emotion to influence behavior, you aren’t stimulated to take any action.
While it is logical to state that they are shielding themselves from external attacks, they do not seem to understand what the internal struggle implies.
As feelings of achievement and satisfaction are not perceivable, it does not seem worth it to set new goals and aim to achieve them. As hope for personal happiness is lost, there appears to be nothing left worth living for.
Many fall back into a state of depression and pessimism, which might result in additional constructions of walls and barriers, or worse, the decision to step out of life.
Not long after the completion of my armor, I felt unrest within my fortifications. What I so dearly wished
to protect, revolted and bashed against the carefully constructed cage. It was not willing to live the rest of its life in a cold, steel jail.
Bit by bit, with intense and ever harder pounding, some nails of indifference got forced off, and it was not long before the steel plates of apathy spliced open.
Yet, outside the walls, I found no assailants, but companions kind and caring. Through the cracks in my armor, they sent ambassadors of love and understanding, filling my heart with kindness and affection.
At that moment I learned that if I never wanted to lose the feeling of loving and being loved, I should accept it would never be possible to feel the one without the other.
In the meantime, I discovered that, no matter how hurtful people or situations can be, it is just those moments that will allow you to grow and strengthen yourself.
When rain is pouring down on seedlings, the seeds do not shield themselves to protect their inner core, on the contrary, they allow the rain to wash over them, and not much later the seedling sprouts its first leaves. With every next shower, the seed grows into a plant, and further into a tree.
The most prominent lesson I took from my experience is that it is simply wrong to limit emotions, both receiving and sending.
It is ok to feel emotional pain; not only does it allow you, like real pain, to recognise situations where you should remove yourself from, it also teaches you lessons and gives you clues for identifying signals and flags that might warn you when you are swimming in familiar but treacherous waters.
And it is ok to tell how you feel!
We are living in a world where we are constantly judged and restrained of revealing our emotions.
It is simply unacceptable to go up to a person and tell them how you feel, whether it is about them personally or about a situation.
If you love someone, you have to follow the step-by-step walkthrough and make sure the word ‘love’ does not fall too soon; otherwise, you blew it!
And because the people on the receiving end are following the same walkthrough, they inevitably respond the prescribed way.
How many times have you heard, someone else’s or your own lips utter: “I wished I told them.”
Perhaps it was that we cared for or loved them, or that we were upset or not okay.
We are all so afraid of telling how we feel, either because it is socially frowned upon, or because we recall what happened last time when we decided to tell how we felt.
But later on, be it minutes, weeks, months, years or a lifetime… You end up regretting it, sighing: “I wish I had told them.”
The mistake we make is that we link our feelings to how people respond to it or what the results are for expressing them, so we deduce that a particular feeling is therefore good or bad, more or less accepted.
But there is no such thing as a wrong feeling, the feeling in itself is merely chemical reaction in your body which will call for action.
As far history allows us to look back in time, emotions have always been the fuel of ambition and dreams, art, and poems…
It is no use in denying; we are emotional beings. Showing emotion is a significant part of what makes us human. To defy it, is to defy our humanity.
So what? Do we just leave our ‘heart’ undefended, open to every attack?
Well, our ‘heart’ is guarded! In our attempt to never get hurt again, we locked away not only our ‘heart’ but its guardians with it.
In my case, these Guardians were the ones beating down the walls, in an attempt to safeguard my metaphorical heart.
Ironically, our emotions are the ones guarding and nourishing it.
They signal you when you are feeling hurt or sad, and drive you to action to leave behind what makes you feel down.
They let you know when you are happy, or feel in love and encourage you to hold on to what makes you feel this way.
When you accomplish a goal, satisfaction will be felt, which will inspire you to set new goals and greater challenges.
When we listen to our emotions and act upon it, we will most likely live a happier, safer and fulfilling life.