“That’s a honey badger. Be glad it’s running away from us, even the lions are afraid of it.” That’s what our guide on a safari in Africa said as I watched the dark weasel like creature scurry away into the bush. The guide went on to explain that honey badgers had such a thick skin that other animals couldn’t bite into them when trying to defend themselves, that the honey badger killed animals much larger than itself by going after their vulnerable bellies.
Sometimes, I think people are an awful lot like the honey badger, always on defense and looking for the weak spots in others. I get why that is. We live in a really negative mean world. It’s hard not to get sucked into it. We’re all just trying to protect ourselves, right? The trouble is that negativity is like a virus that gets into us, makes us sick and spreads to those who we come in contact with. It warps out thinking, poisons our hearts, darkens our creativity, and on and on.
If several years of therapy have taught me anything it’s that negative emotions like anger and distrust are really masks for our fears. We’re pretty much afraid of everything. We’re afraid of being hurt, losing, not being liked or accepted, of failure and worst of all, not being loved. To protect ourselves, we cover ourselves in defenses that keep other people at bay. The result is that we never give ourselves a chance to really know or be known by other people. Instead, we make false assumptions, stop listening, are paralyzed to take chances and will never really be loved or accepted. How can we ever expect those things if we don’t put down our defenses and truly let other people in?
Sure, there’s a huge risk in essentially letting other people see your vulnerability in showing them your belly. But, the possible rewards far outweigh the risks. It’s the place where the seeds of true friendship or love are planted. It’s the place that our creativity is sparked. It’s the place where we truly begin to live. I refuse to ever go back to a life lived in fear and negativity, even if it means having to experience failure or hurt along the way. Because, at the end of the day, to truly live and love requires us to sometimes fail and hurt. For more on the subject of the importance of letting our vulnerabilities show, I highly recommend the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. http://www.brenebrown.com.
I wish you lots of peace, love and good health.