I’m often asked about Shields. Usually it’s in context of energy work, protection, personal defence against negativity. That’s fine, as this is something that we will likely encounter in our lives and so have to deal with.
But how often do we consider what’s keeping those shields up, or what’s behind them?
All my life, I’ve been told what to think. Society does that, after all – from marketing billboards, to advertisements on television and via social media. But also from teachers, bosses, friends and family. Everyone has their ideas and wants to share them. I’m sharing my opinion right now.
The difficulty comes when someone is determined that their opinion is better, truer or more valid than your own. You have to give in to their Truth, because they’re right. End of discussion.
I wrote of Trolls yesterday, and suspect this is a logical progression. How do we deal with those who cross that line between a thoughtful suggestion and a demand? Often the root is intention – genuine caring versus a wish to dominate or ‘win’. Sometimes the demand stems from an insecurity – others must agree with this person, or they are somehow insulting him/her by insinuating that they are actually wrong.
I’m not going to get into that again today – I’m sure you all have experience of this to some extent. But it can be hard to deal with, and this is where the request for shields comes in.
Overbearing co-workers, demanding relatives, pushy friends… these aren’t Trolls, are they? They’re usually just other people who genuinely feel that they’re doing their best, without realising how uncomfortable they make us.
Or is it actually a problem with Me? Is it that I’m being challenged in ways I’m not comfortable with, and so want to hide rather than deal with the issues?
We throw our shields up and back away. These can be psychic/energetic or physical – going home and closing the door is a good reaction, to claim your own space once again! But once we’ve done that, then what?
We can whinge about the Troll or the person forcing their opinion. They don’t understand me. Sometimes that’s true, and we must respond accordingly.
But as we stand behind our shields, taking time to think, so we can place our feet, take a breath and consider ourselves as well.
What about this is making me uncomfortable? Is it the manner in which the ideas are being pushed, or do I genuinely disagree? Can I articulate my thoughts now, in this safe place? Am I able to consider a response, or would I prefer to keep hiding? I could always just leave, or avoid the person altogether…
We fuel our shields from our selves. If the ground beneath our feet is uncertain, so the protection will crumble; but if we are able to identify our own personal Truths, then our foundation is firm.
I read of a simple exercise to find your own Truth, to see what it feels like. Give it a try:
State your name: eg ‘I am Cat’.
Now state a wrong name: ‘I am Bernard’.
Can you feel the difference?
Try other obvious lies. Play with this. ‘I’m the world’s best accordion player.’ ‘I really like cucumber.’ ‘My favourite singer is Justin Bieber’. You get the idea.
Now try stating your truths with this in mind. ‘I think that this won’t work’. ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t agree.’ ‘This might be a better option.’ ‘I don’t like that colour at all.’ Keep playing, with negative and positive angles, and levels of firmness. See what suits best.
Try stating some of the things you’ve been told so confidently. How do they feel? ‘I’m sure I can find time for that assignment.’ ‘I’d love to wear that outfit.’ Is it true? Were you just whinging, or do you genuinely disagree? Note how strongly you feel, see the difference in emotional tone.
Explore which of these statements is true to you. Each one can be a brick in your shield-wall (if it’s even needed now), but crafted with care. You are standing firm, but also remaining flexible – encouraging discussion and debate, connection and understanding, from within a place of safety that is held by you. You are standing up as equally valid, with a voice to be heard.
And you might start to notice the other person’s walls in turn. If your truths simply bounce off theirs, maybe it’s time to highlight that they’re not listening; or even to step away. Show people the truth of you, not an imagined version that they might be projecting – or which you have helped to build.
I see this a lot in Paganism, because spirituality is a topic which is deeply heartfelt to many people. Passions incite strong opinions, and often descend into all-or-nothing arguments. But they don’t necessarily need to.
I’ve been noticing those who listen versus those who don’t; individuals who seem to be seeking confrontation and argument, not discussion. Shields that are so inflexible, the person behind might not even know why they’re arguing at all – it’s just habit, or that sense of ‘because I should.’ Or fear of being exposed as ‘wrong’.
Take time to consider what’s behind your shields – and whether they work with you or keep you imprisoned.