We all use The Great Shield to protect ourselves. It is a veil that covers our deep secrets underneath. From the professional show we put on to cover up our true dislike for our jobs to the public image we project so that people will like us, we are all walking around with a certain lack of authenticity that is The Great Shield.
It’s not our fault.
It’s ingrained in us from an evolutionary standpoint. You see, humans, alone, by themselves, are relatively weak. We have to rely on other people in order to survive or we would die. We need one another to find food, to make shelter, to reproduce. That’s why we feel things like loneliness if we are alone for too long. It’s because we have learned that if we cooperate with each other and create social groups, we have a bigger chance of survival. In cooperative social environments, within a functioning society where we are contributing to the world and making connections to people, we thrive. Over time, we started to behave in certain ways within these groups that eventually formed our moral compasses.
This is when The Great Shield first showed up.
Through our understanding of what is right and wrong, we created acceptable ways to act. Our outward behaviors were The Great Shield that we didn’t necessarily believe in or agree with. The Great Shield was often re-enforced by rewards. We were told we were “good” or “bad” when we acted a certain way. We saw that the people who behaved the correct way and functioned well in such environments, survived. Eventually, we created a set of morals and social motives like empathy and shame.
The Great Shield became a permanent part of who we were.
The reason that we often feel like we aren’t being our true selves in our jobs, in our relationships, and in our friendships, is because we are living behind The Great Shield. We are acting out someone else’s definition of what is right and what is wrong.
Humans are extremely adaptable. We have figured out ways to use The Great Shield to show others that we can fit into our environment.
We put up The Great Shield by doing a few things:
We get used to putting up The Great Shield.
Eventually, we become so attached to The Great Shield that we become completely unaware of our real beliefs and values. So we simply disengage from our own emotions. Behind The Great Shield, we no longer recognize our emotions when we feel them. We dismiss our true feelings as unimportant. We become incapable of expressing emotions that are outside the socially approved spectrum.
Not talking about what we are feeling is killing our relationships.
From my experience, I see that The Great Shield is responsible for a lot of breakups, divorces, and employee terminations. What happens is that one person in the relationship has put up The Great Shield and is not open to the emotional needs of the other person or they have trouble dealing with their own emotions.
So we don’t talk about it. We stay quiet. We let the tension build.
The Great Shield stays in place and we lie to ourselves that we have no problems, no difficult emotions to deal with. We would rather stay hidden behind The Great Shield than deal with the truth.
What is The Great Shield for you? Can you name what it is hiding?
Do you have the courage to take down The Great Shield and show the world the beautiful, wonderful, amazing person that hides behind it?
The truth is that you are strong enough to take down The Great Shield! You can feel the pain and sadness. You don’t have to ignore it. You can lower The Great Shield and let yourself be seen for who you really are.