Preservation, Condemnation, Salvation
It can start off as a messy something inside you, somewhere lodged between your chest and your stomach. This swirling wiry ball of messy discomfort, squirming in all directions, making you somewhat queasy and uneasy. Outside, your skin feels peeled, pink and raw, exposed to the sun. Every tiny movement, every tiny detail pricks you and stings you. In response, you lash out and recoil at the same time. There is something wrong within you, like a mechanism missing a screw, yet you can't quite place where the problem lies or what you can do to get the machine operating smoothly again.
Soon the messy something within you starts taking shape. An invisible hand within starts carving and polishing that messy something. Two sharp blades form on both ends of that something. They are menacing and dangerous, cruel and unforgiving. Anything that approaches them gets hurt. The messy two-blade something is angry and hateful, its attacks vitriolic and provocative.
This messy two-blade something is called self-defence. It's the all-protective measure that kicks in and yes, keeps you safe, but keeps everything out at more than arm's length, bruised and not wanting to come close again. It's the hidden sword we take out and brandish when we feel threatened, swinging wildly and harming everything in our path. So they would stay away from the monstrosity we see growing within ourselves.
Raw, paranoid, overly sensitive and overly bitter. A tornado that grows in size and intensity at every second, at every comment, not just second-guessing but condemning, uncompassionate and vengeful. A destructive force that if left unchecked, can wreck the most stable structures and foundations ever built.
This self-defence (or self-preservation) protects what our self deems the most important to us - our pride, our ego. Our 'face'. We cement thicker outer layers so no one can see our vulnerability underneath. We coat these layers with thick, prickly thorns so that people will get hurt when they come close and know better than to do so again.
It's so easy to walk down paths we've walked before. It's comfortable, with the least resistance. Yet...if we are used to being harshly condemning, being quick to defend and attack so that people won't harm us (but we're constantly harming ourselves and them in the process)...there is no end to bitterness and revenge. To always wanting to make sure we get the upper hand, to make sure we 'win', cos we make every event a battle to win. Yet, by winning wars that were never once waged by anyone other than ourselves, we condemn ourselves for being the hideous and cataclysmic monsters we are.
Aren't you tired? I'm sure, with so many battles to fight and so many effortful attacks and bruises, you're bound to get tired. Why are you tiring yourself out in the battles you alone create?
Pause. Come, breathe. What are you trying to prove? What are you trying to prove? Let's pry off these thick, prickly layers. Underneath is a calmly beating, rosy pulse of peace and acceptance. Of open arms and warm embraces with smooth, round edges. No thorns, no blades. Because when we surrender, we win. When we surrender, we reconnect with the deeper parts of ourselves that were long hidden in the abysses of our hearts and minds. They were just waiting to be rediscovered, as gems that when rubbed and polished, will shine brilliantly again.
Who are you to condemn yourself and others? You are as full of splendour and aglow, beautiful as an ocean and a universe as him, as her, as them, as everyone around you. Save yourself. In doing so, you preserve and defend the most important things of humanity: Love, in the way you feel and do, and Human Connection, in the way we all deserve, in the way we all can't escape from.
"When you love someone,
promise me you will not love them
like they are a war
and you are the thing
that will help them win.
you will not hunt down
their flaws like enemies
in a battlefield
to kill them.
to be saved
or anyone else.
All we can hope for
in this life
is a chance
to be able
to save ourselves."
- Nikita Gill, Ache, Your Soul Is A River