Monday, November 2, 2009

House Guests

“Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by your promotion.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is amazing how many of us go to great lengths to ensure that nothing harmful will enter our homes, but we rarely worry about the negative influences that we allow to pass into our minds. Most of us have specific and unique requirements for the people we welcome through our doors – no improper language, no smoking, no muddy shoes on the carpet, no loud talk…the sky is the limit – and if these people go against our wishes when they come in as guests, we have the right to tell them they should modify their behavior. If they don’t, we clearly have the right to ask them to leave.

Access to our minds works the same way. Regardless of how much power we think someone around us might have, they do not own our minds – we do. As hard as it might be to “evict” them, we have the upper hand on the situation, and they cannot remain if we don’t give them permission to stay.

Very often we don’t think we have that power. People and negative thoughts come into our lives and make themselves at home, leading us to think they have the right to tell us how to feel or think. If we don’t push them out the door the moment we notice their presence, they insinuate into the closets of our minds and look for weak, unhealed spots; once they find them, they immediately recognize old hurts as allies and use them as nourishment to grow new seeds of self-doubt.

In order to begin the cleaning process, we must first stop the constant flow of unwanted junk. Once we are stabilized, we can finally concentrate on cleaning out the old which no longer serves us. Keeping out unwanted people and thoughts is easier than it seems. We envision horrible dramas unfolding, and family members and friends who no longer talk to us after we tell them what our expectations are; even worse, we assume we don’t have the strength to keep the intruders at bay, and it will be only a matter of time before they come barging through the door again. In reality, their power is just an illusion, and their tendency to be offended just because we ask for respect only highlights the fact that we don’t need them in our world.

It is okay to invite in people and thoughts different than those we normally entertain, but they should know the moment they walk across the threshold that their input will only be considered and not blindly accepted as unshakable truth. After all, when all is said and done, they come and go and leave us to pick up the pieces alone.

Choose wisely who and what you let in, and never be afraid to reclaim your space as your own. Your name is the only one on the lease agreement.

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