I once read a quote that said something like: “If you’re walking down the street feeling like people can see right through you, you’re doing it right.”
Meaning, as I interpret it, that living life without having our armor(s) on, shows us that we’re on the path of living life authentically and vulnerably. That we are open to showing the world, who we really are. Well, for those momentary connections with people we’re just passing by on the street, or handing our money to in the grocery store, it might be more about the openness to reveal our current emotional state.
I might feel raw and unprotected at times, but the experience of someone stepping on me when in a vulnerable state has been rare. Mostly I’ve noticed, that people who actually are choosing that brief moment of eye contact (many don’t) are reflecting back to me what I radiate. If I have a happy day, I am met with smiles. If I feel annoyed, people might look at me with a frown. If I feel sad, people look at me with soft eyes.
Isn’t that amazing?
This all happens in the fraction of a second. Same emotional states, but if for some reason, I am wearing an armor, I am missing out on those short moments of genuine connections. The second of eye contact becomes nothing more than an acknowledgement that we’ve noticed each other. More often than not however, we’re not even looking at each other.
On some days I don’t feel resilient enough to walk around unprotected. Letting the armor stay in the wardrobe on those days, requires awareness. It’s so easy to put one on. I try to remind myself to choose putting a blanket around me instead. A soft blanket of self compassion.
Or maybe a poncho – aren’t they in fashion again? A soft, warm colorful poncho of self compassion… Wow, I might be ready to leave the house!
4 thoughts on “Armor off, poncho on”
Ah Simone, I love this! So many people walk around with their armor on, don’t you think? I like smiling at people in the grocery stores and other places and It’s so interesting when others don’t smile back. Now I will think of them as having their armor on or being in primitive brain. I hope I remember your words “A soft, warm colorful poncho of self compassion” so I can mentally and energetically put mine on too. Thanks for writing authentically, you are an inspiration.
I so appreciate to read your feedback on what I write. Thank you!
I have to admit, that I am not always in a state myself where I am seeking connection. Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy. It is however my intention to see people and meet their eyes openly, and if there happens to even be a smile – that can make my day!
“More often than not however, we’re not even looking at each other.” It is an act of boldness to look at one another. When people don’t, the more shy amongst us get the message — it’s not safe. And most are shy. Most are armored. We’ve been conditioned and schooled “Don’t Speak to Strangers!” since a small age (at least in the United States).
Where does that leave us? Without shared smiles. Without feeling like we can be where we are (happy, sad, thoughtful, rushed) and be accepted.
To me the quote with “feeling like people can see right through you” is totally different than “see right into you.” I have people see right through me — AS IF I WASN’T THERE — all the time. It’s when people can see and connect that I feel I’m walking in vulnerable resilience in the world.
I really appreciate what you wrote here, for it’s thought-provoking-ness and as encouragement to us all to be compassionate and bold at the same time.
Thank you for your perspective , Rick!
And thanks for reminding me about shyness – I am not very shy myself and can forget that other people are. In fact, I’ve noticed that I easily confuse shyness with disinterest and sometimes even arrogance, and that it can take me a while to see through that. I’m not shy and can still feel awkward, but I don’t expect people to feel more awkward than I do…
It is when people see through me in the sense that you describe it, that is, not noticing me at all, that I find that self compassion makes such a difference in how I experience life. However, self compassion still doesn’t always come natural to me and the metaphor of putting on a warm poncho will hopefully make it easier for me remember.
I like the expression “vulnerable resilience”!