Nights in White Satin, by Moody Blues, was my class’s Senior song. Our mascot was a knight, complete with a suit of armor in the school’s front entry. It represented our strength and invincibility. And no animals were harmed in our march to world domination.
Armor always seemed like such an interesting way to protect yourself from slings and arrows, and maybe lances too. It looks as if it mostly protected knights from sharp things that could poke and hurt them. But, it looks as if it would be uncomfortable, too, not allowing much ventilation, being heavy, and restricting movement.
I’m grateful to not have a job or life that requires armor for safety! I enjoy feeling free and moving about with ease and joy.
And then I heard an interesting twist about armor from Brené Brown on her new podcast “Dare To Lead”. She talked about how we protect ourselves in emotional situations, and she feels armor is what fear raises as a response when we are scared and uncomfortable. Like the knights of old, emotional armor is heavy and holds you back. She went on to say that when you don’t deal with the emotional armor that you can experience grief, rage, and depression.
Ouch! So while a knight’s armor holds slings and arrows out, your emotional armor holds slings and arrows in. Now that is uncomfortable!
The Modern Approach
In Star Trek, Captain Picard commands “Shields up!” when the enemy is starting to fire on the ship or appears threatening. Shields are meant to be raised and lowered, not to be kept up all the time. The same is true for you. Your shields, or armor, are meant to be raised and lowered as appropriate. It takes awareness to stay on top of this and take the proper action.
Generally, it’s emotions that aren’t serving you, and you don’t know how to process those that cause you to put on your armor. Emotions like grief, embarrassment, sorrow, discomfort, uncertainty, shame, resentment, anger, and even shyness.
To avoid having those unprocessed emotions impact your health, it’s up to you to develop the tools and mindset to clear them quickly. Recognizing that need is the first step. Taking action is the next step, and that comes via talking to trusted and supportive friends, reading books, listening to podcasts, meditating, counseling or therapy, coaching, and/or taking classes.
Learning to process emotions, the ones that don’t serve you, is important for living a life of freedom. Freedom has a cost of constant vigilance. Processing emotions is an ongoing job. The effort is worthwhile