Are you being too self-protective? Overprotection comes at a price whether it is directed towards other people or yourself.
A while ago, I was shopping at the supermarket and heard a boy pleading his mom to pick him up. He complained of being tired and wanted to be carried. What surprised me was the child’s age. He was about 8 years old, if not older. I was further surprised to see that the mother actually tried to pick him up and carry him. Her attempt, of course, was short lived as his size outwon her strength.
A few minutes later, I noticed the same boy asking for some juice and the mother handing him one out of the fridge (no, I was not stalking them!). It was a very warm day and the boy asked if he could drink it. The mother emphatically replied:
“Oh, dear no… it is way too cold for you to drink, we don’t you to get sick, do we? No, no, no, wait till it’s warmer”
At that moment, it all made sense (other behaviours that I noticed helped as well). Much of what I saw was the result of overprotection. And it comes at a price.
The Cost of Overprotectiveness
Overprotection gets in the way of your ability to stand on your own two feet, it destroys your confidence, it creates a dependency for validation from others and it reduces your resilience. Obviously, you need to protect you children but, at the same time, you also need to be mindful of enhancing their self-reliance and encouraging their independence.
Here’s another factor you need to consider which you may not have thought about. It has to do with you being overprotective of you! This may be the result of being overprotected as a child and you are continuing the same attitude toward yourself. But it may also come from past painful experiences. Sometimes, when you fall on hard times, when you experience betrayal, suffer a loss or fail at something you really want to succeed, you may find yourself going overboard in trying to avoid being hurt in the future.
Overprotectiveness renders you more vulnerable
However, being overprotective of yourself will not protect you nor will you feel more secure. In brief strategic terms, overprotectiveness is a faulty solution that creates, rather solves, a problem (read more about brief strategic coaching and faulty solutions here: https://andrewarmatas.com/brief-strategic-coaching/). It will make you feel more vulnerable, it will keep you stuck in your comfort zone and it will get in the way of new goals. Any new goal or experience will be seen as a potential threat that needs to be avoided. Professional and personal goals are less likely to be attained, desires are put on hold indefinitely, life experiences are axed and potential is stunted.
Have you been taking self-protection too far and shielding yourself from future disappointment? It may help to observe your own behaviour in the next few weeks and notice protective behaviours that are impeding your growth & goals. Start regaining trust in your ability to cope with disappointment and setbacks. Start small and remind yourself of the benefits that you’ll reap as a result.
Success, growth and a more fulfilling life.