Not everything around us is important, just as not everything that comes along is suitable. Applying the appropriate emotional and psychological filters on a daily basis will prevent certain toxicities from reaching us. It will drive away wolves camouflaged as seductive sheep and those viruses capable of developing overload, stress and bitter experiences in us.
All of these dimensions are important and not all are well known. However, and to understand a little better what is involved in not applying these “psychological umbrellas” on a daily basis, we will start talking about fatigue. The most common exhaustion has its origin, as we know, in physical effort. However, and curious as it may seem, there is another type that is more common in the population and which usually becomes chronic.
We are talking to you here about this fatigue of emotional origin capable of creating within us a whole psychosomatic framework, where there is no lack of pain in the neck, back, migraines, digestive problems … Dragging this emotional exhaustion, which goes beyond the physical even making us prisoners, often leads us to a hidden depression that is not always easy to diagnose.
The origin of this type of so concrete reality is found in the fact of being openly permeable to everything that happens to us, to everything that surrounds us. In the fact of not putting up barriers, not setting limits, being behind a shield in front of which there is everything that does not please us, everything that hurts us and everything that stresses us; you end up being destroyed from within, overcome by apathy, discouragement and frustration.
We learn to focus on reality differently: we protect ourselves.
The permeability applied to the behavior of the human being has a very concrete and even necessary goal: we need to open ourselves to everything around us in order to learn, to integrate new patterns of knowledge and to survive. Filtering into our being what others bring to us allows us to grow and that, without doubt, is something wonderful.
What comes to us sometimes is just what we need. We have all experienced it at one time or another. Therefore, anyone who maintains a rigid thought pattern and a closed mind does not move forward, nor take advantage of these new opportunities to be happy. So most of the time, we have to fight against this brain programmed to be receptive, porous like a sponge that seeks to absorb everything around us.
However, and this is where the problem arises, what the brain instinctively does does not adjust to what our psychological balance needs. Being receptive doesn’t always lead us to personal progress, but on the contrary, it brings us closer to emotional regression. In fact, and in relation to this, it is interesting to remember what Albert Ellis, in his approach to rational emotional behavioral therapy, called “the triad of unhappiness”.
According to Ellis, we apply three types of irrational expectations on a daily basis that bring us closer, irremediably, to this classic misfortune in which the previously mentioned emotional exhaustion is also registered.
So, with irrational thoughts such as “it is important to do everything perfectly” or “others will always behave with me as I expect” , it is also this third that one should react to, namely, “ I don’t need to face what bothers me or what worries me ” . When we are permeable, we also stop dealing with what we don’t like. We dilute ourselves like water and salt, a mixture that is nothing pleasant that we swallow every day. And this is not the most adequate.
How far are you willing to give in without giving up who you are? How far are you going to let others drag you into their personal worlds? Not everything that comes is right, and not everything that happens does not have to be integrated into your life.
It is vital that one learns to set adequate personal limits. To understand what supposes and involves this strategy so basic of our personal development, let us visualize for a moment a luminous and hot circle which surrounds us. This space where we remain contained in an area which protects us from the outside world and which, in turn, allows us to connect with others without needing to merge with them.
In turn, this so magical circle has a fabulous property: it is flexible. It allows us to relate to others without losing our identity and it will expand in turn, when we perceive that something or someone in particular can allow us to grow without hurting ourselves.
However, this circle is healthy and implacable. As soon as others want to harm us, it will contract immediately because this defensive barrier is intimately linked to our values, our self-esteem and our identity. If what’s coming hurts, then just reject it. These personal boundaries usually develop in the early years of our childhood and adolescence; however, it is common that at times in our lives they have suffered damage, opened to force by excessive permeability.
It does not matter, it is not the end. There will always be time to heal, to cauterize his broken parts in order to create another perfect circle, strong and powerful. A circle that has the adequate flexibility to know what works for us and what is best to leave aside, in the locker room for unwanted guests, in the back room for fake friends , false dreams and false hopes.
Let’s learn how to make good use of our defensive barriers.
Main image by Nicoletta Ceccolli