As a kid, I loved watching the show Star Trek. One of my favorite characters was Spock, whose half human and half Vulcan personality made him extremely logical and unsullied by emotions. There was also Captain Kirk and his unforgettable lines such as,“Beam me up Scotty,” or the command to put, “shields up,” whenever the Enterprise came under attack.
We Are Human
But, we are not Vulcans, made without emotions, and we are not spaceships with built in shields we can command to put up for our personal protection. Instead, we are human beings designed to feel the pain of rejection, the elation of love and the awkwardness that comes with any new relationship.
Undeniably, we’ve all experienced an emotional wound or two. These wounds may have resulted in putting up our shields and vowing to never put them down again. We may have convinced ourselves that being vulnerable ever again would be too big of a risk. After all, why open ourselves up to the possibility of yet another hit to our emotional solar plexus?
It was my grandmother who helped me to put my shields down after I’d vowed to never trust anyone again. She listened while I spilled out questions she did not know how to answer about my father’s suicide. And she remained unhinged when I raged against everyone I could think of to blame for my pain. Then, when she sensed I was ready to listen, she told me, “Someday, you will have to forgive your dad.”
Grandma was wise. She knew that none of us are exempt from injustices, broken promises, or wrecked relationships. She knew that guarding ourselves from ever being misunderstood, misrepresented or even misguided again, closes us off from what is possible.
As a teenager, her words meant little to me at the time, but when I grew older, I understood what she meant; when someone you love hurts you, forgiving them is what helps you put down your shields.
Why bother putting your shields down? Putting our shields down opens us up to feel the whole gamut of emotions. We experience more of our humanness and less Vulcanness.