Anatomy of Self-Protection

Maggie* came in to me recently for private coaching because she was so frustrated with how hard she has tried for so long to be “perfect”, she is highly self aware, she is attractive and is very successful at work.


Yet it seems that she cannot attract a man to save her life.  


When we probed a bit deeper, we discovered that she mostly navigates her life from the head up.  She is very smart, rational and intellectualizes that if she could just change her ‘beliefs’ (another indicator of how she lives in her mind), then a good man would come in.


I gently asked her if we could talk about her heart, which is how we enter into the feeling realm and shift out of the head, and how she felt about all of this mental strategizing as to how she can ‘get love.’  


She immediately started sobbing.  She recognized that she felt estranged from her heart.


I probed a bit further, coaxing her to open while also recognizing that she needed to feel really safe with me.  


If a woman does not feel safe, her heart will close up as fast as can be.


I asked her if she could remember the last time she really felt safe, open and free in her heart.


She realized it had been many years - with accumulated heart breaks and disappointments layered on top.


She had been sexually abused as a young woman, so there was an understandable wall of protection that she had created as a method of coping with loss of her innocence.  


For another woman, it could be the loss of a child.  A painful divorce.  


The reasons all differ, yet the shared commonality is that her tender heart trusted in something / someone, and that was taken away.  


The pain of this loss then caused her to shut down her heart as a magnificent attempt to protect herself.


Then, doing what any smart woman would do, she learned to cope by ‘acting as if’. She learned to put on a mask, a face that she hoped communicated to the world “I’ve got it all together. I know what I am doing. I can take care of myself.” What it really said was “I don’t need or trust you.”


The thing about masks is we can all see right through them, whether we consciously know it or not. We can feel when a mask is up.


Her energy communicated guardedness, self protection and mistrust.  This was the energy that kept her separate from the love she says she really wanted and effectively repelled men.


And this is where our coaching work began together.  We began softening her defenses and looking behind her masks by equally developing greater awareness of what truly helps her feel safe.


It would be an error for anyone to attempt to dissolve the sophisticated layers of self-protection without first honoring the sacred role they serve without first learning how to re-create a felt-sense of inner safety.


So how do we do this?


We call upon our soul gifts of Compassion, Forgiveness, Acceptance and Understanding to be our guides. We look for the feelings of sadness or loss, the past events that were too painful at that time to fully process and we do our best to enlarge our hearts around the ways we each have silently suffered.  


By accessing our heart, we uncover an incredible governing system that guides us to our inherent strength and our greatest source of power.


Your loving is enough.  Your loving will heal you.


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Anatomy of Self-Protection
Anatomy of Self-Protection
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