Not everything that surrounds us is significant, nor is everything that comes convenient. Applying adequate emotional and psychological filters on a daily basis will prevent certain toxicities from reaching us. It will scare away the disguised wolves of seductive sheep and those viruses capable of developing in us overloads, stress and bitter experiences.
All these dimensions are important and are not equally known. However, and to understand a little better what it means not to apply those “psychological umbrellas” on a daily basis, we will start by talking about fatigue. The most common exhaustion has its origin, as we already know, in physical exertion. However, and as curious as it may seem, there is another type that is more common in the population and that tends to become chronic.
“Disappointments sometimes kill, but it is hopes that allow us to survive”
We are talking about that emotional tiredness capable of creating a whole psychosomatic picture in us, where there is no lack of neck pain, back pain, headaches, digestive problems … Many call it simply, “being burned”. Dragging this emotional exhaustion, which goes beyond the physical until we become captives, often leads us to a hidden depression that is not always easy to diagnose.
The origin of this type of very concrete reality is to be openly permeable to everything that comes to us, to everything that surrounds us. In case of not putting up barriers, of not setting limits and placing ourselves behind a shield in the face of what we dislike, hurt us or stress us, we will end up defeated on the inside, overcome by apathy, discouragement and frustration.
Let’s learn to approach reality differently: let’s protect ourselves.
Permeability: a very common problem
Permeability applied to human behavior has a very specific and even necessary purpose: we need to open ourselves to everything that surrounds us to learn, to integrate new knowledge schemes and survive. Filtering in our being what others bring us or contribute to us allows us to grow and that, without a doubt, is something wonderful.
What comes to us sometimes is just what we need. We have all experienced it on occasion. For this reason, those who maintain a rigid thought scheme and a closed mind do not advance, do not enjoy these new opportunities for being happy. Thus, most of the time we have to deal with a brain programmed to be receptive, porous like a sponge that seeks to absorb everything that surrounds us.
However, and here comes the problem, what the brain does instinctively does not adjust to what our psychological balance needs. Being receptive does not always lead us towards personal progress, quite the contrary, it leads us to an emotional involution. In fact, and in relation to this, it is interesting to remember what Albert Ellis, within his approach to rational emotional behavioral therapy, called “the triad of unhappiness.”
According to Ellis, people apply three types of irrational expectations on a daily basis that would inevitably lead us to that classic unhappiness where the aforementioned emotional exhaustion is also inscribed.
Thus, along with the irrational thought that “we must do everything well” or “that others will always treat me as I hope” , there is also that third party on which we should react, namely, “I have no need to deal with what bothers me or worries me ”. When we are permeable, we also stop dealing with what we don’t like. We dilute ourselves like water and salt, an unpleasant mixture that we swallow every day. It is not the most appropriate.
Say what bothers you when it bothers you, not when it’s late
The best time to indicate that something is bothering you, overwhelming you and hurting you is now. Make use of assertiveness and defend your dignity.
If what is coming does not suit, protect yourself
How far are you willing to give without giving up what you are? To what extent are you going to let others drag you into their personal universes? Not everything that comes is convenient, nor everything that comes to you has to be integrated into your life.
“Everything has limits, only our naivety is unlimited”
It is vital that we learn to set proper personal limits. To understand what this basic strategy of our personal growth means and implies, let’s visualize for a moment a bright and warm circle that surrounds us. That space in which we are contained is an area that protects us from the outside world and that, in turn, allows us to connect with others without having to merge.
In turn, this magical circle has a fabulous property: it is flexible. It allows us to relate without losing our identity and it will spread in turn, when we perceive that something or someone in particular can allow us to grow without harming ourselves.
Now this circle is wise and unforgiving. When they want to harm us, it will contract immediately because that defensive barrier is intimately connected to our values, our self-esteem and identity.
If what is coming hurts, just leave it out. These personal limits often develop in our early childhood and adolescent years; However, it is common that at certain times in our life they have been damaged, forced open by excessive permeability.
Nothing happens, it is not the end. We are always in time to heal it, to cauterize its broken parts to create another perfect, strong and powerful circle. A circle that has adequate flexibility to know what is best for us and what is better to leave in the lobby of unwanted guests, in the anteroom of false friends, false dreams and false hopes.
Let’s learn to make good use of our defensive barriers.
Main image courtesy of Nicoletta Ceccolli
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