Have you ever felt exposed?

Exposed_coastline

I recently found myself exposed.

Not in the…you have your dress tucked into your knickers after the toilet…or…you opened your mouth about something you have no idea about and showed your lack of any clue…type of way.

No, I found myself exposed in the sensitive, vulnerable, letting others’ words and deeds get to you kind of way.

I like to think I am a pretty positive, trusting sort of person. I like to see the good in everyone and I like to help people.

“Well, that’s lovely!” I hear you say. “What on earth is wrong with that?”

Of course nothing is wrong with that but sometimes this can expose you.

When you are naturally trusting, helpful, seeing the good; you become more open, more vulnerable and people can take advantage. I am not saying that they mean to (‘seeing the good’ example right here!), but it can and does happen.

This might be through asking for more of you than they should, taking out their frustrations on you, or forgetting that you may have needs too.

If you are like me and don’t like confrontation, you may just let it happen and happen and happen. Until one day you find yourself exposed and you realise you are hurt.

As I said, I recently found myself in this position and I wondered how I could best protect myself from this. Can I really protect myself and still see the good, be trusting, and help people?

And then I thought about a sketch sent to me by one of our team members. I have been inspired by his sketches before and this one was no different.

“Beautiful, but if you abuse her she has thorns to protect herself, so don’t take her for granted. We have thorns to protect ourselves – if someone tries to destroy; they get harmed from the thorns. Everyone has the ability to protect themselves.”

I thought about this for a while and realised that it is possible to help others and not be taken for granted, to see the good in others and recognise when enough is enough, to trust without being abused.

I have that ability.

Like the rose I can be soft and kind, bring positivity and joy where I can, open up to the light. Like the rose I can be strong. Like the rose I have thorns that protect me.

It is up to me to remember that, like everyone, I have the ability to protect myself.

With that knowledge comes some peace and comfort. Knowing that protection lies within me soothes the hurt. And that means that I can go on being positive, trusting, seeing the good, and helping.

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