|Many, many years ago a friend of mine explained why she wore a stack of bracelets, inches deep, on her wrist every day: she did it for protection. It made her feel like a warrior. It helped her feel powerful after a divorce when she was feeling particularly vulnerable
I loved the look of that armful of bracelets and I loved the presence of deep meaning behind the fashion statement, combining two of my favorite things (jewelry and meaning). But I also wondered if this was psychologically healthy and legit. Wasn’t this essentially a big mind delusion that could eventually harm us in some way? Like bring on a bad case of imposter syndrome since deep down we know we’re not Super Woman?
After 20 years, I finally decided to get to the bottom of this. I put in a call to Yemaya St. Clair, one of our skillful EAP counselors. “It seems useful, but are we supposed to do that?” I asked.
“What an interesting idea!” Yemaya said. “I think you’re right on that it could be useful.” Further, using bangles as armor reminded Yemaya of using other objects to modify behavior or influence feeling: snapping a rubber band on the wrist as a reminder not to do or think something, holding an ice cube as a way to shock the body out of anxiety by introducing an alternatively strong sensory experience, wearing a locket with a photo of a loved one for comfort.
But this usefulness comes with a caveat according to Yemaya. “At the same time, we don’t want to become overdependent on any one tool, Yemaya said. “The goal is to cultivate a well-rounded tool kit and, eventually, an internal sense of strength -- particularly if the bracelets break!”
So there you have it. It’s legit but we’re supposed to mix it up. This makes sense to me. I often find that sometimes the mind just isn’t buying the tried-and-true trick that day, but it will bite on a different one.
Before closing out completely on this ages-old question, we need to circle back around to bracelets for one last clarification: wearing an abundance of jewelry doesn’t have to mean you are warrior-ing it up. Sometimes it is just a fashion statement.
More along these lines
If you’d like to read a story about being present for yourself – a handy way to be particularly in this holiday season – here is a link to Deep Holiday Thought: making a present of being present for yourself.