Did you know that by the late 16th century, a suit of armour weighed between 20 and 32kg? That’s a seriously heavy load to carry around with you! Thankfully modern armour is a lot lighter, but it’s still a burden.
I’m sure you’re wondering where this is going and why I’m talking about a fashion that went out a couple of centuries ago! This week, I’m thinking about the different armour that we all have, when we might have developed it and how it drives our behaviour.
‘Clothes maketh the man’- or so they say. For most people, clothes are an everyday part of life. Let’s face it, if you turned up at work naked, you’d get some pretty strange looks! However, for some individuals, what they wear defines them. I’m talking about people who insist they can only wear designer labels. That’s not necessarily an issue when you can afford it. The challenge comes, when you can’t afford it. When all your income goes on your wardrobe. When you’d rather get the latest handbag or pair of shoes than eat or pay your rent. When what you wear begins to define who you are. When you are wearing your net worth!
I speak from experience here, because I use clothes as armour. When I have a court day or some other important meeting, what I am going to wear is part of my preparation. Putting on a formal suit gets me in the right state of mind. There’s just something about that buttoned up outfit that helps me to focus, to plan, to strategise. In a weird sort of a way, it feels like I would ‘lose’ my power if I weren’t properly dressed. Whilst clothes are important to me so are my intellect, skills and abilities. To value yourself, purely by the value of the clothes on your back, is to diminish the most important parts of yourself.
Make up is another type of armour. Hands up anyone who knows someone who won’t leave the house, without a full face of make up on? Again, this is not a rant against make up- I like it as much as the next woman and I am a professional makeup artist. It’s about when something is taken to an extreme and begins to define who someone is. When I see young women like Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry, wearing very overt makeup all the time, I wonder what’s going on, I wonder what it is they are trying to hide, I wonder if they know that their physical appearance is just one small part of who they are. I recognise that they are in an image obsessed industry, where a woman’s worth seems to be determined purely on her looks- in spite of her talents. However, I am still alarmed by the number of young women, whose self-belief seems to rest entirely on what they look like and how much they weigh!
The last type of armour that I want to talk about is the psychological armour that most of us have and use unconsciously. Have you ever gotten into your car and found yourself at home or work and have no recollection of how you got there?- like you were on autopilot.
That’s what psychological armour is like. It’s usually developed very early in life, as a means of dealing with a traumatic experience and helps to protect us. The trouble is that it stays with us, even when it’s no longer necessary. If you find yourself repeating unhelpful patterns or behaviour, then it’s probably rooted in your unconscious mind, but is still driving your behaviour. Sometimes it feels like you’re at war with yourself. You make a decision to make a change, but end up sabotaging yourself. Terms like ‘denial’ and ‘defence mechanism’ have all become fairly common terms in society today. However, just because they have become part of our everyday discourse, doesn’t mean that their impact is understood. It can be incredibly frustrating to keep repeating behaviour that is unhealthy.
The point is we all have armour, which may have started off protecting us, but sometimes, it just gets in the way. It may end up being the source of sabotaging behaviours and prevent us from fulfilling our true potential.
What unhelpful patterns do you see yourself repeating? what armour do you identify with? Is it still serving a useful purpose or is it getting in the way of you excelling? If you would like to know how coaching could help, contact us at www.born2bebeautiful.com
Until next week, go well.