In my files, I have several lists of things I can do to protect myself.  There are no words with them to explain what exactly I was trying to protect myself from.  But I’m guessing it’s about protection from negative thoughts and feelings which could drag me down. I have gathered them together here, eliminating the duplicates and fleshing out each one.  I hope the ways help to protect you, too.

1)  Remember to Not Take Things Personally
This is an important piece of advice.  Especially if when I’m after something and frequently come up against rejection and/or frustration.  People are so busy these days and so immersed in their own dramas.  Most of the slights I feel personally have nothing to do with me. Even if they do sometimes, I can’t know for sure.  That person is unlikely to say, “I didn’t choose you because I don’t like the beady look in your eyes,” for instance.  So, I might as well just let it go.  That’s just are how my eyes are, after all.  Most of the time people act according to their own needs and agendas, which have little to do with me.  Let it go.
2)  Relinquish Being Right or Having to Prove Anything
Wow!  This takes a huge weight off me.  It will keep many an argument from ever happening (and save on the bad feelings, too!)  So often I try to convince someone of something when they are certain they know something else.  Sometimes I’ve been able to change a person’s mind, but if it doesn’t happen after my best points, I might as well give it up.  It won’t change what I know to be right.  It’s important to remember that truth is in the eye of the beholder.  If all I’m after is for the other person to say, “Okay, you’re right,” I’d better think of something more constructive to do with my efforts.

3)  Be Impeccable with My Words
This is from “The Four Agreements” by Don Miquel Ruiz. This seems so very important to me, as a person who loves words.  Part of this is in not promising what I can’t deliver, and, of course, in telling the truth as I see it.  But it’s also about gossiping about others. Or using negative words to describe something or someone when more neutral words would suffice.  If I don’t want negative waves coming at me or sinking in, I have to be careful not generate them myself. 

4)  Say What I Need to Say
Boy, can I feel it when I don’t do this!  Sometimes, for me anyway, just getting it out on the pages of my journal can help.  There are a few things that will eat away at you more than things left unsaid.  I try to find some way to do it. Like, it might be easier to write it rather than doing it face to face.  Whatever it takes to it get out. One precaution:  be sure to have emotions under control before expressing.  They will surely muddy the waters.  And I don’t want to pollute the world any more.  (See 3 above.)

5) Treat Myself Like a Precious Object
This is a quote from Julia Cameron, in her amazing book “The Artist’s Way.”  She went on to say that doing this will make you strong. (Sounds like a good protection to me!) One way to do this is to listen to my body and heed its calling.  If I’m hungry, eat.  If I’m tired, find time to rest. It also means making good choices for my health. Remembering that when I’m healthy and strong there’s nothing I can’t do.  An important aspect of this is to protect myself from others’ negativity.  That can be harmful; like second hand smoke.  I’ve heard tell of people who put up an imaginary shield.  I sometimes repeat positive mantras or just get far away from them.  Also, I want to do the things that refuel me. That’s a good way to protect my health and build my immunity.  When I think of myself as a precious object, it’s easier to remember to do these things.

6)  Go Easy on Myself
Certainly we can call this a part of treating myself like a precious object.  But I think it’s so important it should be on its own.  Sometimes the biggest threat is from the inside. I can be so incredibly hard on myself (and I suspect I’m not the only one).  This entails appreciating what I do and giving myself rewards.  It’s also about accepting myself when I don’t.  I need to offer myself the allowance that I can only do what I can do.  And respect that if I could, I would. To avoid that situation, I might be careful not to over plan or over promise.  It’s important for me to pay attention to what I’m saying to myself.  Going easy certainly means not kicking myself for anything.  Would I do that to a child?

7) Keep to My Own Counsel
Now I’m all for listening to what others have to say. There is much wisdom to be gained from that.  But I need to temper it.  I must pass everything through my own filter.  I cannot change my mind simply because someone else said I should.  Unless the new information feels right to me, I will not integrate it.  I’ve gotten myself twisted into knots by taking someone else’s word as law.  God said, in “Conversations with God,” that if there’s anything called “sin” it would be taking someone else’s word for something.  Strong words.

8)  Do What I Say I’m Going to Do
This may seem to be part of being impeccable with my words, but it pertains to what I say to myself.  It’s about following through on my plans, doing what I planned to do.  When I do, I always feel empowered, stronger somehow.  This means keeping my promises to myself.  “I promise I will do this tomorrow.”  Or “I promise to reward myself after I do this.”  It’s that satisfied, whole feeling that comes from exercising your integrity.

9)  Know What’s Important to Me
When I know this, it protects me from making the wrong decisions.  I keep a regular list of the Things That are Important to Me, like my writing and being of service to others with it.  This gives me a framework for all I do. It’s a set of priorities to work from.  And it reminds me what my dreams are.

10) Keep Coming Back
This simple phrase from Alcoholics Anonymous reminds me not to give up.  To stay close to whatever it is I’m trying to do.  Keep my nose pressed to the glass. Never stop just because I’ve run into a snag.  It is persistence which affords success.  It protects me from failure. Because the only way to fail is to give up.

What other ways do you use to protect yourself?