Okay...I'll bite. Well, often I notice I'm protecting my pride and fear of rejection. Went to the Ecstatic Dance in Marin last night. It feels like I'm elusive and I've been doing that so long that I don't even know why I do that. In hindsight (since you ask) it's because I'm not sure that people will be interested in connecting with me on a deep and satisfying level. The truth is though, that when I drop into those feelings, I'm protecting myself from my own self-consciousness. When I'm in a space of loving myself, I feel true awe and openness to those around me. No hiding is necessary.
Took me nearly forever to reply, and I'm glad I re-read this one.
I love the deep self-inquiry here. It looks like you're on to your own game here, and I hope looking at it helps.
That piece about doing it so long you don't even know why you're doing it any more seems to be the root of what holds everyone back. A habit of not going forward.
Oh, and mine? I promised mine.
I protect my image. I protect my image as a man who is trustable, loving, lovable, strong, open, supportive, wise, worthy, nice, sexy, fun, intelligent, and so on.
This image is untouchable. It needs no protection. It hardly exists. Those characteristics are all basically true about me, and protecting them only makes them less accessible. When I'm running the protection game, instead of getting my openness, people get my protective shield: my image of openness.
I know that when I originally wrote this I was talking about our tenderness. Our sweetness that we were born as and showed so innocently to the world. Showed it off freely to everyone - until we got hurt. We got hurt and decided to protect ourselves from getting hurt like that ever again. There we were just glowing little babies and something hurt us.
I imagine it's happened to everyone. At some point we stopped being babies and toughened up. Stopped being so sensitive. Stopped showing our emotions, our tenderness. "Grew up".
And here we are. Grown up. Tough.
I keep wondering if that tenderness got damaged or just grew callous.
I keep working to open mine up again. To feel my tenderness. To connect to my sensitivity. To allow my tenderness to meet anothers.