These mighty castle walls now reach to the heavens,
With legions of soldiers, bows drawn at all sides.
A drawbridge guard waits to drop it when beckoned,
Down below is an impenetrable mote deep and wide.
If you are a person that has trouble trusting others because of some harmful experience in your past, maybe you can relate to that metaphor of my own guarded personality. My walls are always up. I am polite to most people but I treat everyone with a hint of suspicion and distrust. My drawbridge does come down from time to time but I’m also quick to reel it back up! I am often on the alert and looking into possible underlying motivations or deceptions, trying to catch manipulations or lies before they occur because of my relationships with some old narcissists in my life.
Instead of guarding myself though, it usually just ends up making me feel a little crazy. I question the motives of everyone I meet. I’ve thought at times that I could see the big picture before it was ever fully visible to me. Guessing, judging and convicting without first having all of my facts in order.
Some days it’s hard to separate the realities from the anxiety-driven fictions in my mind. The fears create some very believable realities of their own and danger can seem to lurk in every corner. A monster, hidden beneath the skin of every person that I meet. I often approach the world cautiously with a guarded-heart and a hand on the hilt of my sword for emotional retribution.
Yet, even with all of my defences in place, I can never fully protect myself from the pain that life can bring. When I am constantly trying to anticipate these future dangers, I am really only creating more chaos and stress in my life then there needs to be. It’s a counterproductive struggle intended as protection but often ends in self-destruction.
I’m often able to catch my own insecurities before I act upon them and for the really big problems in my life – I’ve always found that writing out these issues was a great place to start. Follow this with a healthy dose of rationalization added to the mix and the solutions to my problems seem a hell of a lot clearer and simpler in the end.
Mental health will always be an area that some people will need to focus on throughout their lifetimes and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Therapists and doctors and self-help books all have their places in existence for a reason, and no person should feel that it’s anything less than admirable to search for guidance in times of great distress.
Love yourself. Accept yourself. Work with yourself to better your life and the lives of those around you. Choose improvement and progress and remember that great humility is the key to great personal insights. None of us is perfect. We are all flawed, beautifully, in one way or another.