Inner temple


This is the time of year – this late December season – when we are at or best and at our worst.  Expectations and desires for what might be are high, and for that reason alone, lead to joy and gratitude for some, or disappointment and pain for many others.

You might be among the many, away from family, in a new and unfamiliar place, separated from those you love, or confined with those you feel you ought to love. It’s tempting to wallow in what we believe “should” be, whatever that is: a beautiful tree buried in gifts, a large table overladen with festive food and surrounded by cheerful loving people, back home in familiar surroundings. Then we shake that longing and pain off, telling ourselves that we can do better than that, and don our coping mechanism armor, putting on a “happy” or brave face.

Our armor might be a mask of joviality, or a sharp knife. It may be stoicism, or any number of faces and physical stances.  It’s our armor, and for better or worse, it will get us through this time. And for that we can be thankful.

Armoring is something we all do when we feel the need to protect ourselves. We mask what we are feeling, not only from others, but also from ourselves. We do this by tensing up, not even allowing certain feelings to surface. There’s a price for armoring, and there are better ways of coping that don’t require it. But before rejecting this mechanism that has got you through so many difficult times, remember that it did get you through, and that it was the best you could come up with at the time.

For me, this time of year is a time of deep gratitude, for all I’ve been through, survived, experienced, learned from and grown through.  “We build our inner temples with the stones we have at hand.” – Richard Moore.

Best wishes to you.




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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at 


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