There are an endless number of defenses mechanisms we can hide behind to keep our true selves at bay.
We can hide behind our sense of humor, our mask of indifference, our façade of nonchalance, our precious way of thinking, our false front of humility, our proven history of right beliefs, our constitutional incapability of not shutting the hell up, they all get the job done.
Each of these defense mechanisms, these unconscious psychological tools, these adaptive survival techniques, allow us to exclude the unacceptable thoughts and feelings from our awareness.
Which, like most human behavior, is evolutionarily advantageous for warning our organism of danger or threat to its equilibrium.
The challenge of operating from our hiding places, we invest all our energy preserving the self, rather than expanding it.
But the most rewarding growth occurs when we open some cracks in the walls we put up to protect ourselves and grapple with the complicated reality of being a human.
It’s like the comedian who starts her career as an eccentric, absurdist, noise making clown, pulling every trick out of the bag to make audiences love her. And she sees moderate success, but it feels like you can never get to the real person underneath the show.
But over time, when she finally grows tired of hiding behind the volume knob and vulnerably shares the more bluntly realistic portrayals of her imperfect life, her career skyrockets.
This transition is not perfect, but we can all make a similar shift, even if we’re not comedians.
The scriptures remind us that whatever we try to hide, somebody will discover, and our sins will find us out eventually.
Why not assume that’s true? If it’s only going to get harder to hide from ourselves, why not step the true self out into the light? Why not let enough people into our closet and so that there’s no more room for skeletons? Why not commit ourselves to something beyond our constant campaign for glossiness?
Imagine how healing it will be to stop defending ourselves all the time.
Even if we are afraid of losing the story because then we’d have nothing to hide behind and be forced to stand on our own two feet, it tends to be worth the risk.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What is your flawed defense mechanism against the perceived perils of vulnerability?