It is a well-known fact, that a tortoise has a very thick shell which shields them from enemies.
The so to speak enemies in the human world don’t necessarily hunt their prey in the same way that wild animals do and normally do not stick their sharp claws and teeth into prey’s soft flash like the predators in the animal kingdom; however, the predators in human world can attack both physically and mentally.
How helpful would it be to have a tortoise-like shield around our hearts, to protect the sensitive and soft nature we all carry inside. Some of us are more sensitive than others. Some have a strong and hard facade, others wear their hearts on their sleeves. It’s not a rare occurrence in our human world when a sharp and composed exterior is taken for internal strength. Who said that the strongest looking of us are in fact the least sensitive?
We are complex beings and our strengths and weaknesses exist on many levels. We project one kind of emotion, whilst feeling something completely different. Often afraid to show weakness or be judged, not fit into the environment or make a wrong impression, unwanted to be deemed difficult or to be seeing too soft or sensitive, we all have come across times in our lives when we had to hide our true feelings and play along with what we think is a suitable role.
‘Grow Thicker Skin’
Sometimes I wish I was a tortoise, so that I could move at my own pace, regardless of things around me, and have an unbreakable shield around my sensitive inner self.
‘Grow thicker skin’ they say…and what is this suppose to mean? Be less sensitive, stop paying attention to stupid people and things, don’t take it close to heart, brush it off…
Doesn’t this mean, changing yourself? So that someone or something could continue acting insensitively…so that someone could continue making you feel bad about your feelings and emotions to the point that you look for a way to change yourself and grow this so-called thick skin.
Why? To make someone else’s life of ignorance and disregard for others, more convenient for them?
We are not born to be Convenient, we are born to be Real
Once you have grown this thick skin, how do you then filter and balance it? How are you supposed to adjust the thickness of this skin? Or do you remain the same with everyone around you…whether they are your friends and family or a bully from outside?
One big thing we have compared to the animal world is communication. We can and should be able to express our thoughts and feelings freely without any reservations or fears. We are allowed to feel the way we feel in the moment of time we are and if these feelings are deemed as weakness by someone then I’d say those people are the one with issues.
Our exterior is what we allow people to see, leaving our inner selves hidden deep inside. It’s our private, secret world that we often feel afraid to expose because it is fragile.
Our feelings are what make us human, what makes us, us, in all our shapes and forms. Our feelings make us fantastic parents, friends, children and even professionals as we learn to see and listen to other people.
I am who I am
I am a very perceptive and sensitive person and I have always been this way. I have always been very shy and even the smallest of comments would affect me like a thunderstorm. With time I have learnt to use my sensitivity as a positive trait and it has soon become one of my greatest strengths. My sensitivity is what allows me to be open with people and makes others feel comfortable to open up to me and share their thoughts and feelings; often allowing me to provide support and help to those who need someone to talk to.
Yes, I still take everything to heart and yes, I live my life through honest feelings and emotions, and it is not easy, but this is what makes me who I am and I do not choose to play a role of someone else anymore.
For years I thought of my sensitive self as a weakness and tried so hard to act like things didn’t affect me when in reality they’ve been hurting me over and over again. I have often felt like others should have understood me better and should have been more considerate of my feelings…but why would they?
People reacted to what I was projecting. And if I projected that I was doing well and was happy with everything, then how would they know that in fact, I wasn’t?
It is important to be honest, first of all with yourself. If we say that things don’t affect us, we should only say that if it truly is so! But if we are actually breaking inside then we shouldn’t have to hide it.
We don’t hurt anyone by expressing and communicating our true feelings, we only hurt our own selves by keeping it all inside.
That’s what I have learnt when my son was born. I realised that my true feelings were very important because I didn’t want my boy to see mummy acting all strong and then breaking down when nobody would see. I didn’t want him to think that he had to hide his emotions and follow my mistakes. I didn’t want him to grow up ashamed of his feelings.
Instead, I wanted him to learn to communicate and express his honest feelings and emotions in a healthy manner so that it would help him to be happier and stronger not just on the outside but on the inside
Indeed, my shield and my self-protection of my sensitive inner world need to be thicker but I am not prepared to change myself to fit into somebody’s ideas. I shall not change who I am as I am a pretty dang awesome person, but I shall continue to learn how to express and project my emotions and feelings in a healthy manner.
My journey as a new mum has taught me so much about myself already, yet I know that there’s so much more I am still to discover.
To everyone out there, with children or not, let’s feel what we feel and allow ourselves to be honest and true to ourselves no matter somebody’s expectations, convenience and idea of this so-called thick skin… by the way, I prefer my skin hydrated, radiant and thin.