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Protection in Inaction: Lessons on Empowerment

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

It is natural to desire to protect the ones we love.

To rise to their defence, and shield the people we care about, from injury or danger.

How many of us consider, that in varying degrees, truly protecting someone, translates as our own inaction?

You’ve completely lost me. How am I supposed to build a bridge between actively wanting to protect those I care about, having the tools and resources to offer that protection, and still making the active choice to do nothing?

While situations and contexts will vary, and it’s for you to use your discretion, it is when others fail to respond that we, now and again, find the strength within ourselves to react. These situations and circumstances stand to bring about an awareness, of what we are truly capable of accomplishing.

The challenges we will come to face in life, that feel as though they are beyond our ability to cope, also serve to force us to rise to the occasion.

Ill-equipped and unprepared, we respond.

When confronted with a threat, and left to our own devices — it is then that we have the opportunity to learn that we always had the option to rely on ourselves.

I’m all for cultivating self-reliance in those I care for…, but I also know when I’m needed. I also like to feel needed… I want to make sure that I’m seen as dependable and reliable! I’ve never thought of my being available to help and respond, as taking away from others’ ability to help themselves…

There is an unspoken tragedy in not developing an awareness of our own ability to support, protect and empower ourselves.

Many of us have yet to discover who we stand to be, beyond the mendacity of learned helplessness. Never realizing that that sense of helplessness that we often carry, is a by-product of socialization and conditioning - and not an inherent trait.

We need room to stand on our own two feet, to understand that we always had the ability to stand on our own two feet.

So we ask ourselves, to what extent are we creating dependencies in those we care for, that in effect, also diminishes their sense of ability to rely on themselves?

In the broader sense, how do we each ensure, that our need to defend those we care for, does not encroach on the development of their inner confidence, and sense of strength to depend on themselves?

At the juxtaposition between our validating our sense dependability, and their cultivating self-reliance, which need do our actions or inaction, satisfy most?

You are asking some thought-provoking questions… I’m not sure why I’m feeling defensive, but I need you to understand that all that I do, I do because I want what’s best for everyone involved. I’ve never thought of my need to be dependable as encroaching on anyone’s capacity to develop self-reliance…

It is natural to desire to protect the ones we love.

Though, sometimes, protection translates as allowing for experiences, that may be painful, but also help us cultivate the ability to persevere through challenges. To push beyond our breaking point, and to know that we will survive beyond breaking — it is, in truth, the process of becoming.

Protection sometimes allows for experiences that are arduous, that bring about rejection and disappointment, but also show us that we are not defined by failures and setbacks, rather, these inform our sense of character and fuel our sense of hope for brighter, and better opportunities ahead.

It all begins with how we consider the ways by which we aim to support, protect and empower one another.

Being present, without needing to be depended on, fostering self-dependency and reliability, through our words of encouragement and the quiet confidence that our inaction communicates:

I believe in your ability to do this on your own.

Let’s all choose to engage in behaviours that cultivate grit, perseverance and resilience in our youth, teaching them that they carry within them, the ability to support, protect and empower themselves.

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