Reach Out and Touch Someone: It's Good for You

March 30, 2015 4:56 PM

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The school of hard knocks can make us tough on the outside but more fragile on the inside. We convince ourselves that a tough exterior will protect us and keep us safe from further injury. While an initial reaction of self-protection is normal and adaptive, if it becomes our reflexive way of relating, over time it will be isolating. As defensiveness increases, the internal list of what we perceive as threatening expands. We risk becoming increasingly aloof, suspicious, irritable, and even combative. When this happens, we risk pushing important relationships away, feeling lonely, and eventually hardening our hearts.

Under the flimsy façade of toughness, the heart will always speak the truth in spite of our efforts to silence it. It has the strength of humility and the compassion for suffering. It is the self-preserving, life-enriching instinct within us that can be trusted. It relentlessly insists on guiding us...

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