THE ART OF
During the Middle Ages, military strategist developed highly sophisticated means to protect knights from being impaled by a lance or hammered by a mace. Suits of armor made of metal and male afforded jousting knights and battling warriors some physical protection. However, this system of self-protection was heavy and bulky. It often hampered the combatants as much as it kept them from harm. With the passing of the age of the knights of bold, these suits of armor became dust collectors in castles and museums. In any of these repositories of past military protective technologies, one can find rows upon rows of empty suits of armor standing silently as if at attention.
While these antiquated means of self-protection wait patiently for the next long delayed joist, they do provide for us a lesson of life. We need to understand that the age of chivalry is dead and so is the wearing of armor for protection. We, in a more enlightened world, don't wear metal armor to protect us from physical attack. However, we often employ emotional armor in our relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. There is much diversity to the modern emotional protective armor.
With all of these emotional armors, these modern knights are often successful in protecting ourselves from getting hurt, but in exchange for winning, they fail at finding true closeness or intimacy with another person. When they get all dressed up with their emotional suits of mail, the armor works wonders in protecting them, but with their defensives up, no one can get in. It is nice that they can't get hurt, but they also can't find love and acceptance either. They are always battle ready, and consequently, they are often war-weary.
One cannot find closeness or intimacy without risk. Protecting oneself works wonders if protection is the goal. However, if having meaningful relationships with family, friends, and co-workers is what you desire, the armor that you wear will merely get in your way. The less armor that you employ in life, the better the chance that you will have in finding and keeping good relationships with others.
This is not an article that condones exposing yourself to abusive relationships. This is rather an essay about the folly of thinking that you can protect yourself with emotional armor-you can't. If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, let the other person know how you feel about the abuse. Make sure that the other person knows that you are serious about closeness, but that you won't tolerate abuse in any manner. If that person continues the abuse, get out.
The best way to find closeness without the use of encumbering armor is to model the behavior that you seek. Treat those around you the way you wish to be treated. If they see you treating them without attacking, they are far more likely to respond in kind. You will have to take a chance. However, careful risk taking is the only way that you can find true closeness. The irony is that unless you risk hurt and failure, you guarantee hurt and failure because you won't find the closeness that you seek.