Some need thick skin to survive. Those with hard lives, those under constant attack, those who fight against all odds, those who simply refuse to surrender. Sad to say that thick skin should’nt be normal. People use different armour. It may be a magnificent army of tattoos, or way more bullets than needed, maybe a very bad attitude. Many build mental walls that are very hard to spot. In my life I found there are usually a reason for needing thick skin…
Toxic people… it sums up most of the reasons, but the reason I name it first is because its so often just one. A friend who always puts you down, an authoritive person who misuses you, a parent who could never quite be proud of you. My favourite pastime was looking for love partners who hurt me. If you can, cut them out of your life. Its easy to know who; they are the ones who hand you the scissors… and if they stab you in the back, use their knife to cut the ties.
Opinions. We all care about the opinions others have about us, our work, accomplishments or ideas. We often care too much though. We allow their opinions gather momentum and let them hurt us. They will never understand what you do. For instance, Jerry Miculeck shot a man sized plate at one mile with a handgun. The uninformed will probably think “oh, ok”. The marksmen will probably cringe at the thought wondering how on earth he even could use the sights on this gun at that range. Its often the same with our every day life. Their opinion can be allowed to count if they walked a mile in your shoes.
The past. In life we get hurt, its normal and natural. Many cling to their pain which is unnatural and abnormal. And in clining to the pain we have no choice but to grow hard or die. Sometimes it can become a full blown obsession, which can ruin the future we might have had. Some even refuse the relentless rescue attempts of others fearing that the pain defines them. The only way is to let go. Few can just do that. Most should go through some process as mourning or councilling, some ritual that will let you leave what is past in the past, and only remember the lesson it brought.
Life. Yes, I said it. Sometimes life happens in the worst possible way. Wars, natural disasters or even just disaster can turn one’s life upside down. Therein lies an ugly truth. In a time where control is king, we forget that we can only control 10% of what happens to us. The other 90% lies with life and the powers that be. We can however control our reaction on almost anything. There is beauty even in death, or a lesson learnt in the smallest of fumbles. Find that, and you will come out on top…without your armour.
Ourself. “I have met my enemy, and it is I.” We often cause the most pain in our lives. Negative thoughts, ignorant choices and self sabotage are just some of the ways we do this. Even more insidious than all other threats, is your own attacks on yourself. It flies well under the radar and is many times never seen. There is very little defence against it. The only way is to know yourself, and I mean really truly knowing all parts of you…even the parts you don’t want to accept.
I wish I could claim to have shed my armour. Right now my life does not allow it. Between the psychopath I face every day, crime, and the haunting choices I made there is little choice. However I shed many of the heavy and unneeded armour plates. More importantly, I take my armour off. My thick skin only being thick when I need it to be. Slowly but surely I am changing the the things around me, one day I hope to never need the armour again.
As for my inner demons, my greatest enemy, I defeated them long ago.