Someone once described me as a woman who lives “close to the surface,” which she pointed out was a double-edged sword.” Indeed!
Growing up in Trinidad where teasing is a national pass time, and everything is fair game, I had to develop tough skin, or become “buff proof.”
My neighbour was nicknamed “Bat” because of his big ears. If you were "ugly" people would call you a “boo boo.” Come to think of it there is even a famous Calypso dedicated to someone’s aesthetically challenged father. It’s called Mamma Look a Boo Boo Dey by calypsonian Lord Melody.
This song demonstrates our training as Trinidadians, to separate ourselves from the easy targets among us. I was affectionally called “tickness" which when translated is “thickness” and describes the way my body looked because I did not fit into the bikini beach culture in the post-Twiggy era.
No one and nothing was sacred.
JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SKIN
How did I grow some extra skin so that I could leave my home with some measure of confidence? How did I make sure not to grow too much skin?
Remember, I still wanted access to my emotions so that I could feel empathy, joy, and happiness! After all, I was on a career path to become a psychotherapist.
It took some time, but I remembered exactly where I was when I learned this life-saving way of looking at myself. I call this everyday technique ‘Saving Your Skin.’ If you are a sensitive person like me, accept reality. Being a sensitive person in this world is like having allergy to dust and living in a dust bowl. You have to take special care and acknowledge that this allergy is a gift that makes you a powerful healer, and empathetic to others and creative.
STEPS TO SAVING YOUR SKIN
Here are the steps to “Saving Your Skin.”
1. When you feel pain/negative emotions, about either yourself or someone else, picture holes in your body where the pain comes in.
2. Check the pain for messages that pertain to you and your life.
3. Let the pain flow through you by way of those holes. If you are focusing on that pain (like probing sore gums with your tongue), or if something really gets to you, you may find yourself re-playing the “story” over and over in your head. This will cause you to puff yourself up on self-righteousness and the need for fairness. The best advice I can give you is that this behavior is toxic, and can also stop you from moving forward. Life is not ‘fair” in the way we think about it.
Eventually, when you make a decision to feel better (even though the pain and injustice have not gone away) try using a technique I call “Switching or Changing” my “somebody done somebody wrong song/story in my head.”
You catch yourself going over the story and then call “SWITCH” in your head. Do it firmly and several times as you will be breaking yourself out of a self-imposed trance.
I have my workshop attendees practice “switching” with a well-oiled story like Little Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Thank you, Mr. Swainey for this idea!! They find a partner and begin telling the story. Your partner yells out “switch” at many points along the way. The story changes…leading, ladies and gentlemen to a different outcome. Bingo!!
Try it. It is hysterical! The last time I did it, my Goldilocks turned into a dread-lock wearing, hip-hop singing, girl with fewer entitlement issues than our original Goldi who as you may recall, ate all of the porridge that was someone’s else’s, unapologetically.
I would love to hear how your “SWITCHING” is going for you. Kindly comment below.
PS: “Switching” is NOT to be used to get out of a healthy conscience or your truth telling.
PSS: Contact me if you are interested in more of this kind of Master Your Mind for Success work. I offer a weekend workshop that delves into the subject in depth!
Until next time; be passionate!
I love what I do! Facilitating workshops, retreats, speaking, working with people and organizations to help them live lives of passion and engage in meaningful work makes me want to sing and dance.
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