There are certain subjects I just hate to talk about. Some things make me uncomfortable, and others are just downright painful. When these topics pop up, I find the natural response is to pull back, withdraw from the conversation, and sometimes, shamefully, from the relationship itself.
A friend of mine is an occupational therapist, and she recently told me she has to massage the scabs and sensitive spots on the skin and muscles to toughen them up. If you keep them covered up, she said, they will become more and more sensitive and unusable for functional activities. The same can be said of our emotional wounds, my wise friend pointed out.
Convicted, I thought of all the circumstances in which I'd done exactly that. In a myriad of circumstances, my refusal to "go there" has taken me way beyond "touchy." As a result, that part of my life becomes dead weight--a memory, at best.
Next time, my friend cautioned me, don't be so quick to cover up those wounds reflexively. The anticipation is usually a lot worse than the actuality, she concluded.
Pretty healthy advice.