The shell
February 15, 2013 by
Categories: Acceptance, Coping, Emotions, Human

“Cause I need freedom now, and I need to know how, to live my life as it’s meant to be.” –Mumford and Sons

Living in our little shell can be very lonely. Sometimes being lonely is better than the potential pain that exists if we were to be exposed and rejected. But still, loneliness is painful. Isolation is painful. Being disconnected is painful. Sometimes our shell can keep us separated from the experience of pain, but it’s not 100% effective. We do whatever we can to not feel pain. We are afraid of pain. Being locked away in darkness is safe, it’s comforting, it’s indulging in the pain, accepting that we should be in a shell, being numb, because, honestly, who would want us out of it anyway?

Yet while we are in the shell, sometimes we long to be out. We forget our fear of pain because we want so badly to connect. We want so badly to stop feeling numb. Sometimes we can find someone who can help us out of our shell. Sometimes we attempt it on our own. Sometimes we’re the one helping someone come out. Sometimes it’s us hoping that there is someone on the other side of the shell.

Image by dlee

Image by dlee

It’s like a chick who has to slowly chip away out of it shell. Those around it can really only watch, maybe in a supportive role. To help it break the shell would be to weaken it and it would die. It’s difficult watching such a small, helpless creature struggle to break free.

Yet what more can we do for others trying to break free? It’s difficult to know that they will experience pain and heartbreak. What more can we expect from others supporting us as we are breaking free? If they were to help us, we wouldn’t have the strength when the pain and heartbreak come for us. We wouldn’t have the capacity to experience joy and contentment either.

Shell breaking is painful and it is joyful. Both for the supporter and for the breaker. But it can build connections. It can repair connections. It will bring happiness, but it will bring pain.

It is scary and sometimes we run back to the pieces of our shell and try to put it back together around us. The problem is there are cracks. These cracks can be exploited by the unkind, or those who innocently enough try to help us break free, but only injure us in the process. Yet these cracks can also allow kindness and support in, once we are willing to accept it. If we are breaking free, we need someone who “will hold on hope” and not “let us choke on the noose around [our] neck”. This will keep us and our shell safer throughout our hatching process.

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