Shooting yourself in the foot

When the rain comes on, hard and heavy, we pull our hoods up, or we pop open our umbrellas. But have you ever noticed, how, once inside those protective little worlds, how oblivious people tend to become? You can witness the hooded-ones walking out in front of cars. With their vision restricted, they don’t have the same view of the real dangers. We all know far too well, to watch you don’t get your eyes gouged out, when the umbrellas go up in the rain. The people that wield these eye pluckers, seem to be in another world, slightly more removed from the general reality outside of their portable shelters.

This isn’t just a word of caution to you, to be careful when you are walking with your hood up, or when you are wielding an eye-plucking umbrella. Although, it is that too. But, the observation I really want to make is this:¬†Life rains down on us.

It Rains

Life rains down on us. It just does. It is not for us or against us, it just does its thing regardless. From the day we are born to the day we die, we live through sunshine and showers, heatwaves and storms, but, when life rains down on us, we tend to put up protective shelters. We put up our psychological hoods, and our mental umbrellas, to shield ourselves.

But, let us bear in mind, that when we are protecting our self from something that we can’t avoid, we often bring about hazards, that we can avoid.

We shield ourselves from the rain, and get knocked down by a car.

Coping Strategies

There are many ways in which we exhibit this behaviour. Maybe you will recognise it in yourself. I know I have seen in myself many times. Sadly, it seems, that we often continue to keep up our hoods and umbrellas, even after the rain has stopped. With hoods up, we can end up isolating ourselves from contact with those around us. With our umbrellas swinging around, we may push people away, who understandably want to keep a safe distance.

These coping strategies and defence mechanisms are usually pragmatically glued together at a time when we were much more vulnerable, and more at the mercy of the others in our lives. There were feelings that we never wanted to feel again. We did the best with what we had at the time, and cobbled together makeshift defences. But, as we grow older, we sometimes forget to see that we are no longer so vulnerable. We have our own power – we can stand our ground and we can grow. We may also realise that many of these strategies, not only do not work anymore, but may actually bring about the very thing we are trying to protect ourselves from. Or, the protective behaviour that we are using, to hedge ourselves from particular difficult feelings, may have worse repercussions than the difficult feeling would be on its own.

This is also known as shooting yourself in the foot.

What’s the alternative?

It might be time to sit down and reassess what we are afraid of, what we are doing with that fear, and become aware of what the side effects of that behaviour are. As we all know, so many of the ‘medicines’ we take to make us well, have lists of side effects that are worse than the ailment we are trying to rid ourselves of.