There can often be a difference between the person we know ourselves to be and the person we present in public.
The passage of time results in the development of emotional and spiritual veneers - protective shields that we can swap and change at will.
Some are thicker than others. All are burdensome.
The problem with shields is that while they can protect from hurt and pain they can also block love and tenderness. Individuals can become so self-protective that they lose touch with their true emotions. Isolation results. Sadness ensues.
We need to regularly re-evaluate the value of the veneers we have created.
Are they hampering more than helping? Have we become a victim of what we created?
But we should not discard our veneers entirely. After all we have a duty of care that starts with ourselves.
Guarded and cautious is the opposite of exposed and vulnerable.
It takes work to find the middle and safest ground between the extremes. It takes honesty.
We need to bear in mind that we are simply unable to change those around us.
We can't live another person's life for them.
All we can do with any degree of certainty is to work on ourselves; to strive for improvement in all aspects of our life with the objective of becoming the best person it is possible for us to be.
- Gary Bentley is a Rural Aid counsellor