Hermit Crabs And Defense Mechanisms
It just occurred to me that we human beings are very alike these crustaceous creatures. The only difference being that instead of moving into a shell that protects us, we develop shells of our own, usually by accumulation.
We develop defense mechanisms against our emotions, certain types of life interactions and certain types of life experiences. For me, defense mechanisms a broader than this though. They include our habits and the routines we fall into, down to the way we like to drink our coffees and the routine route we take to work. All these form layers of shell around our soft (emotional) "flesh" and help us feel confident enough to navigate this world.
But if you imagine carrying a massive and teetering construction on your back and how it would fee like, the idea might not be that attractive after all. It's not only exhausting but also dulling. It prevents us from experiencing life fully or as it were happening under our nose. It gets in the way.
So once in a while, it helps to take some risks and drop some of our defenses in order to experience being raw and vulnerable, like a naked hermit crab. These moments are also moments of the greatest potential to allow us to make changes in our lives.
Take a look at what some of the things you are defending against - tips: 1) you'll feel very dull or blocked off in that area of your life (e.g., you keep visiting the same cafe and wonder why you're feeling that nothing's new under the sun); and, 2) imagining not defending against it brings up at least some anxiety (e.g., saying "No" to someone).
These are areas worth taking small risks to let down your defenses, get out of routine, get out of character, and do something different.
Try this out for a bit. You might just feel a little bit more alive =)