Losing all the armor

I’ve been having a lot of conversations about psychological armor – the stuff we hide ourselves behind.

Armor could be things like “I work at Company X” when the subtext is that Company X is a huge company that you’ve heard of, and that gives me status.

Armor could be letting people know you drive a Tesla, when the subtext is that you have the money to spend on a nice car AND you’re the forward thinking type of person who saves the environment.

Armor could be a university degree, an award, the number of followers on your Instagram page. It could be a number on a scale, or the number of matches on Tinder.

We use armor to protect ourselves. To make ourselves seem cool. To make ourselves feel like we belong somewhere. To make ourselves feel worthy. To hide.

I get it. The world is a scary place. I’ve been bullied before, and because I felt like shit, I bullied others. I’ve been a jerk, made snide comments, posed with a sense of elitism or entitlement. I’d wager every single one of us has.

Which makes it seem like taking off all of the armor that much more terrifying.

But if we want to make a more inclusive world that treats people with empathy, if we want to build communities, empower others, and push the world towards a kinder, less scary place, we need to learn how to take off the armor.

Because if we stand there, naked and vulnerable, with no armor – that’s true power. To truly be you, in the face of (potential) criticism, you’re actually stronger than ever.

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