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  • Amanda Hessel

Self-protection vs. love

Self-protection vs. love

Defense mechanisms


We are taught at a very young age how to protect ourselves from the world. Through our early development we learn strategies (defense mechanisms) to protect ourselves from feeling too much pain, whether physical or emotional in nature. Some kids learn to “leave their body” to feel safe, thus creating a strong connection to the spiritual realms but have difficulty being in their physical body. Others learn to be angry and push people away, while others act out to get attention. Some become little adults at a young age and become very competent in themselves so they don’t need to rely on anyone else.


Because we learn these patterns very early on they tend to stick with us throughout our adult years. As adults these patterns make it hard to be present in our body, be in relationship with others, allow others to help us and be intimate, real and vulnerable. This tends to conflict with what we want as adults, which is often relationships, realness, community and making an impact on others through being present in our lives.


Though these strategies were helpful at some point in your life, as adults they are outdated. They ultimately interfere with your ability to live from love in all of your thoughts, feelings and actions and keep you in survival mode, often unconsciously. In most adults these protection patterns are unchecked, dominant patterns in your nervous system and are running the show whether you want them to or not. This is why its hard to choose love even when you “conceptually” know its the right thing and how you truly desire to be.


Neural patterning

Operating from love by changing your nervous system


As mentioned above these protection patterns become the dominate pattern in your nervous system. Your nervous system consists of your brain, spinal cord and nerves, but this is not the most important part of the system. Instead it is the connections that get created in response to what has occurred in your life. When connections get created and reinforced they start to run automatically. This is something your nervous system does so that you don’t have to consciously thinking about everything all of the time. This is great when you have a pattern dominating the show that works well and is in congruence with who you want to be and the life you want to have, however if that’s not the case its time to check your patterns.


One way that you can see your nervous system patterns played out is through your physical body. Protection patterns in the nervous system will show up in the body as tension in your spinal cord, a forward head with the shoulders rolling forward to compress your chest/heart, tight and ropey muscles and shallow breathing. This is how your body responds to a lifetime of a protection strategy in your nervous system.


When instead love is the dominate pattern in your nervous system your physical body responds very differently. Your chest will be up with your heart stretching opening, shoulders will be back, full breathe will be easeful.


Even though most all people have some level of protection running the show the good news is that your nervous system has “neuroplasticity”. What this means is that you can create new patterns in your nervous system at any time/age in your life. It does however require repetition of learning a new way, over and over again, along with a conscious choosing, in order to extinguish an old pattern and set up a new one that works better and is in more congruence with who you want to be now in your life.


Amanda Hessel

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