One beautiful thing about our lives is that we have the opportunity to change limiting patterns which were inherited and/or taught by our parents to us.

Our parents have done their best to raise and teach us how to protect ourselves, especially for us to not experience their hurts or their parent’s hurts. Their teachings, in general, have helped us survive our childhood to adulthood. Most likely, our parents learned their survival techniques from their parents and have passed their knowledge to us.

In the context of Tending to Your Garden Within, it is necessary to study the effectiveness of gardening techniques used in our garden within. In the midst of winter, we need to protect our flowers and shrubs in our garden within by keeping them warm and using protective cover (armor). In the spring and summer, we need to remove the protection for our shrubs and flowers within to flourish and thrive.

Perhaps our parent(s) did not show enough positive emotion toward us. Most likely, it was not personal or intentional to hurt us. It is highly likely that they did what they knew how to do to protect us and themselves – they loved us by showing us their secret techniques for survival. They taught us how to be tough so that no one could hurt us.

It is tempting to judge our parents for not letting us express our emotions as children, or to blame our lack of emotion on our upbringing. If we are aware of this dynamic in our family, then we already have the power to stop this cycle for ourselves now and our future generations. The key factor is to change ourselves and be a model for our children and parents by doing the uncomfortable. The poem below illustrates this concept further.

Hard Shell

Do not let the hard shell of your loved ones fool you.

Within the hard shell

a soft heart is residing.

The hard shell was necessary to protect their heart.

Our loved ones have survived due to

the protection of their hard shell.

They have survived,

but may have forgotten the identity of who they really are

and the potential(s) hidden within them.

With the hard shell

emotional hurts can be blocked.

Your parents may have trained you to be like them.

As a sign of their love

they taught you to protect yourself like

they protected themselves.

You may have a tough shell like they do

and you may resent it.

Perhaps, as a child,

expressing your emotions

was like walking on egg shells.

The hardest words for you may be

“I love you”


“I love myself”.

Saying, “I love you”

may be a sign of weakness in your family.

Saying, “I love you”

may create a fear of an expectation that

you are not able

to live up to.

Saying, ”I love you”

may create emotions within you that

you do not know how to cope with.

Do not allow yourself to be distracted

by their short falls.

It is your ego’s way of protecting itself.

Your ego may allow you to compromise,

letting you say the magic words

over the phone

with your eyes closed,

or via an email.

Start by doing something.

Intend to crack open the hard shell.

Crack open the hard shell with

“I love you”

“Thanks for being there for me”


“I understand.”

The hard shell is ready to be cracked open.

Use the magic words.

Hear the cracking sound of your own shell.

You have stopped perpetuating the hiding of your heart.

Be hopeful

to hear their hard shell to crack as well.

Copyright @ 2010 by Shervin Hojat

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