Walking on Eggshells or Crushing 'Em?

May 02, 2024
5 Ways to Reclaim Authentic Self; crush+sweep away eggshells
Image by Juanita Mulder from Pixabay


Have you ever found yourself repeatedly tiptoeing around a situation, carefully measuring your words and actions? Maybe it's a partner with an unpredictable temper, a work colleague who takes things personally, or within a social circle or community where one wrong move can spark drama. You feel a sense of constant vigilance, like navigating a minefield. You’re on edge, even while seeming calm and cool. This is what it feels like to walk on eggshells.

Why are those eggshells even there? Who put them there?!

Is it you, or them? 

It's easy to blame the reactive person— the "short fuse” —for creating the eggshell environment. You’ll find a lot of agreement on the source of your plight. Sometimes, however, there is a more nuanced and subtle dynamic at play. You, the eggshell walker, might appear perfectly functional and good-natured on the surface. After all, you’ve probably become an expert in the art of keeping a peaceful minefield. YOU hold this relationship together with this skill. Right??? 

Yet the only one aware of the eggshells is you. Underneath the masterfully-designed “peace”, there's a constant undertone of tension, a suppressed anxiety about saying or doing the wrong thing: the eggshells appear. Skilled peace-keeping can look like: a forced smile, a carefully calculated next step, a well-crafted text, etc. – each hiding your hesitancy to express your true opinion.

Does this sound familiar, my eggshell-walking friend? If you are in fact not expressing your truth, what is the impact on that particular relationship? What is the impact on you?

The Nimble Walker in a Freeze

In my last post, I talked about the state of being in a functional freeze— your nervous system stuck in a freeze response. Imagine your nervous system like a car with different gears, shifting aptly to meet the needs of the situation. Ideally, we're running smoothly with a balanced sympathetic-parasympathetic set of gears, allowing for healthy processing and "social engagement” for your drive in the world. 

When suddenly faced with those eggshells in your path, you might shift into a "dorsal vagal state," which is a freeze response in the realm of the parasympathetic, or “rest and digest”, nervous system. Thus, you can show up surprisingly calm and functional on the outside, as you tuck away your true self to be sure you don’t suffer the consequences of running over the delicate shells. Sadly, neither you nor the other gets to know the true you —and what a loss this is. Over time, this constant vigilance —or functional freeze— can become exhausting. Indeed, the nimble eggshell-walker’s energy is often spent after enough time “in the field” presenting an incomplete version of you in safe-mode.

So, how do we crush those eggshells and reclaim our authentic selves?*

  1. Awareness is Key. The first step: acknowledge the eggshell-walking pattern. Once you recognize it, you can start to disentangle yourself. It may likely take some time to completely thaw from this freeze response so be patient and compassionate with yourself. It’s about progress, bit by bit.
  2. Strengthen Your Nervous System. Your nervous system responds naturally to protect you— it’s in survival mode. Activities like kundalini yoga and meditation can help regulate your nervous system and move you out of the freeze state. Maintain your body vehicle with a well-working nervous system by tuning it daily. Getting guidance from a certified teacher or coach can help you find what works for you and include tips that hone in on your needs. One of the things I like to share within my practice is doing a full body shake. Like a deer that just found safety after being chased as prey, she shakes her entire self in order to shake-off and equalize her body after the surge of fear energy.
  3. Functional Freeze? Dorsal-Vagal State? Do Your Research. Learn more about the functional freeze and the dorsal vagal response. This helps you to be more supportive and compassionate of yourself. Knowledge is empowering!
  4. Confront Your Fears. What anxieties underlie your eggshell-walking? Talk therapy or coaching can help you identify and overcome those fears. Nervous system strengthening allows you to look at and talk about those uncomfortable traumas from a place of calm self-support. Once you understand the true source of your fears, you are empowered to set healthy boundaries that you can stick to and begin to exist more true to yourself. You may even find that the volatile other person begins to change for the better.
  5. Develop Your Self-Compassion. Be both patient with and kind to yourself as you break free from this pattern. Prepare yourself for multiple attempts at crushing it little by little. Remind yourself of your beautiful nervous system working for you and now you get to give it the attention it needed all along. It takes time and effort, but you deserve to live authentically, not on eggshells.

*The good news is: the practice of kundalini yoga and meditation is powerfully effective at helping you help yourself through all five of these steps. Build self-awareness and self-compassion; strengthen and balance the nervous system and the vagus nerve; expand your capacity to breathe; feel and understand your fears and protective responses; connect with your self-worth through a regular habit of showing up for yourself with this practice.

Remember, you are not alone. Many people struggle with eggshell-walking. By taking these steps, you can create a more peaceful and genuine existence for yourself.

Anna SachKiret

PS. If you would like more on this topic, comment on my post “EGGSHELL-CRUSHING” and let me know if you have specific questions or things that landed for you. Follow me at my website: EssentialSoulMama.com/blog. And if you would like personalized attention through these steps, reach me at my website to see if we are a good fit to work together. Peace+blessings 🌻❤️


(much like this blog post!)