As we see the world changing around us we constantly put up measures to protect us and our loved ones from physical harm. We build stronger walls around us, put bigger locks on these walls and try and learn some basics of self defense. My daughter goes for Takewondo classes regularly. For her it is a sport, for me it is future protection for her and hopefully myself.
In spite of all this, we still never feel secure enough. As I step outside for a walk, I am constantly wary about anyone passing too close to me. Sometimes, in spite of all my defense mechanisms, I have been subject to bad behavior on the roads. Initially, it stopped me from going far but then one day, I stopped to think – what was I afraid of? What could someone possibly achieve by passing a lurid comment or slapping my bottom and running away. They cannot physically harm me in broad daylight amidst 10 other common folks on the road. Yet, I was still scared – why?
One day, I found the answer. Behavior like this does not harm us physically as much as it harms us internally. When someone calls me names, I am in no way hurt physically, but I am hurt much deeper. It hurts the soul and scars it. But then, no one can touch our soul – it is so deep inside us. How can it get hurt, unless we allow someone to get inside us and touch it? Our soul gets hurt not because someone said or did something bad. Our soul gets hurt because we allowed that someone to get inside of us and hurt us.
While we constantly work on protecting ourselves physically, we let our soul be open to getting hurt from small remarks, visual obscenities, and physical encounters. I am in no way advocating for those who subject others to such behavior. It is in no way justified and it needs to be punished. At the same time, I believe, the answer to protecting oneself does not lie only in physically guarding your body. The scars on the body heal much faster than the scars on the soul. The good news however is, that no one can hurt the soul, unless we let them.
The million dollar question that I still have is – While I know how to protect my soul, how do I teach it to my child, for whom the world still consists of fairies and princesses and everyone is a friend unless proven to be an enemy.