December 6, 2009
Posture may be good for the body but not so good for the soul. Posturing in relationships may be a symptom of our insecurity and our lack of self-love (not to be confused with narcissism). I do it when I’m feeling vulnerable or unsafe. I think I catch myself most of the time and try to really embrace being in a situation where I am at a disadvantage – where I’ve had to strip myself bare. I call it “embracing your discomfort” – the moment when you are the most open to learning about yourself, the others around you, and how you relate to them.
It is tremendously difficult to do though – who wants to be willingly embarrassed or humiliated? So we posture and feign, bob and weave, hurt before we’re hurt. How do we transcend this feeling of vulnerability and continue to be open to the people around us? The answer that I keep arriving at is by loving yourself – acknowledging your faults, accepting them or working on them without self-flagellation, knowing who you really are and what you really need when you strip away the cosmetics and look within.
With this comes balance, as a dear friend pointed out recently – we may not always be able to be this self-loving, this confident that we never need to posture. Sometimes posturing can be self-preserving I concede – because to bare yourself when you don’t have the foundation of self-love or safety can prove disastrous. I have to acknowledge that there are people out there who prey on the vulnerable.
Knowing and loving yourself is like learning something complex – the more you study the more you realize how little you know. And just like I wouldn’t want to send someone with a little boxing experience into the ring with Muhammad Ali, I wouldn’t want people to be that open, that vulnerable that they become an easy target. So my message to self is: maybe posture for self-preservation (as long as you acknowledge it) but never posture with someone you love – it degrades your self. And it’s harder to love a degraded self.