Do Not Forget Your Frailty

Hello, and happy Monday Dear Reader. I hope your weekend was relaxing, and you feel ready to take on the demands of the work week. I know Monday’s have gotten a bad reputation over the years, but I am aiming to change that. Can you believe that we spend one whole day out of the week feeling bitter and unmotivated? Let’s change that, shall we? Let’s not waste another week starting off on the wrong foot.

Let’s think of Monday’s like a new start, another chance to get it right. Let’s think of Monday’s like the first step to meeting our goals and getting shit done.

For me, this Monday is a hard one. In fact, I beg your forgiveness in the lateness of this post. My baby niece might be on her way to being born today; my dog managed to hurt herself, and my work day has been more draining than usual. Thankfully, I will be heading back home soon.

(How frail the human heart must be —
a throbbing pulse, a trembling thing —
a fragile, shining instrument
of crystal, which can either weep,
or sing.)

Sylvia Plath

Most of the time I encourage people to remember their strengths but this week, I encourage you to remember their fragility. In the body, yes, but more than that, remember your emotional fragility.

When you play a sport or do any intense emotional activity, you wear protective equipment. You wear the right footwear, you wear pads, you wear a mouth guard and a cup. Before you can play you have to practice. You learn how to throw the ball. You learn the plays. You get to know your team. Before every game, you have to warm up. You do all of this so that you can play the game effectively and without injury.

After years of play, though, an injury is just about inevitable. When it happens you carried off the field, you are seen by a doctor who specializes in the part of the body that was hurt. You are looked over, diagnosed, and given instructions to rest and rehabilitate and when your body is ready, you begin therapy.

Bodily injury is talked very seriously but emotional injury isn’t. When you pull an emotional muscle, you do not stop to rest the part of you that is hurt. You do not see a doctor to diagnose the problem and plan your recovery. You tell yourself it isn’t that bad. You go on like the hurt never happened. You do your best to walk it off. This will only result in weakened resistance and susceptibility to further pain.

In any physical activity, you are best served by remembering what the body is capable of and how to do what you do safely. We are given the tools we need to protect ourselves and rely on coaches and teammates to help us along.

In life, we aren’t given the tools we need to protect our hearts. We are never taught what our emotions should and shouldn’t do. We are never encouraged to learn our feeling words, to learn how to express ourselves, and we are not given a safe space to feel our feelings safely.

The emotional self is much more fragile than the body. We are easily injured; sometimes the hurts are big but fewer and farther between. Sometimes they are smaller but frequent, building up over time. The result is the same, though, a breaking down of the mental resistances, like the knee or hip bone, slowly giving out after years of hard hits on a field.

The difference is when our hearts get hurt there is no one to carry us out of the environment that hurts. There is no doctor readily available to diagnose you. There is no time to rest or rehabilitate. Therapy is not encouraged.

So you must do all you can to care for yourself, and the first step is to know and remember your weakness. Remember to protect your most vulnerable parts. Do not make the mistake of thinking you are invincible or impervious to the blows to your soul. The world is often a harsh and hostile place for humans to exist, do your best to make a place within yourself where you can retreat when things become too much.

If you get hurt, give yourself time to rest. Go easy on the parts that have been injured lest they be injured further. Work yourself up to normal activity as slowly as you can.

Rest and rehabilitate.

Therapy is encouraged.

Artists instinctively want to reflect humanity, their own and each other’s, in all its intermittent virtue and vitality, frailty and fallibility.

// Tom Hiddleston


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Image via Unsplash

Written in response to The Daily Post prompt: Frail


3 Replies to “Do Not Forget Your Frailty”

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