Have you ever heard the thought, "I have to protect myself" pass through your mind? It's natural to have this thought - our reptilian brain is all about ensuring our survival. The reality is that there are times we are in physical danger; protecting ourselves is the sensible and needed response. And more often than not, this thought is a habit that has developed over time to attempt to stop us from getting hurt or giving away our power.
The question then becomes, "Is it true that I have to protect myself?" As Byron Katie, the author of "Loving What Is" would ask, "Is it absolutely true?" When we notice this thought pass through and then question it, we realize that it isn't essentially true.
We have the choice to examine this thought more deeply. When we think the thought, we may notice that our chest area becomes tight. We may feel separate. We may want to either back away from the person who we think we need to protect ourselves from or assert ourselves - in other words, the fight or flight response. This thought usually does not bring peace, only stress. When we don't think that thought, we are simply present with an open heart to whatever arises, as in a dance without stickiness and only flow.
The truer statement becomes, "I have to protect myself against my own thoughts". It is our reaction to the words or actions of another that has caused the pain rather than the person who spoke or acted in a way that we interrupted as unsafe and, therefore, needing protection.
This is a huge distinction. With this awareness, this truth, the mind lets go of its grip on protection. The habit loosens. The gifts that are ours to give flow through the heart - effortlessly, naturally - as they are meant to do. Life is lived on our own terms.
Notice how often you protect yourself, emotionally close down, walk away. Without in any way making yourself wrong, simply question your mind. Is it true that you need to do this? Or is it truer that it's your thoughts about what happened that is really at issue? What is the thought that supports peace and connection?
© 2009 Jeannie Campanelli, Inner Confidence Coaching. All Rights Reserved.
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Jeannie Campanelli, Ed.D, CPCC, is a coach and author who partners with naturally-giving men and women who place other people’s needs in front of their own. As a consequence, they are disconnected from themselves. Jeannie offers a free e-newsletter titled “Notes on Claiming Your Life as Your Own” to support you in feeling the serenity, vitality, and wholeness that comes from inner confidence. When you subscribe, you will receive gifts to support you in this journey home to yourself, including an e-course from “The Inner Confidence Workbook: A Guide to Claiming Your Life as Your Own” written by Jeannie. Visit www.innerconfidencecoaching.com.