by Building your own Castle
It is so easy for us to get undone by something someone says. And that someone could be just about anybody. Someone we don’t know makes a remark about how long we’re taking at the checkout; a broadcaster says something that we don’t agree with; our boss is sarcastic for the nth time; one of our children is not very complimentary about something we’re wearing. Whatever the comment – its effects can last up to a day or depending on our interpretation and perception – much much longer!
I have always said that words can quickly become swords and that sticks and stones can break my bones and words do hurt and so it’s up to us to protect ourselves – to insulate ourselves so we don’t feel the brunt of careless utterances and not well thought out responses to whatever our situation.
In 1989 Joyce Landorf Heatherley wrote Balcony People. Balcony people pull you up and encourage you. They are quick with affirmations; they cheer you on and are quick with words of encouragement. They give you confidence to reach your goals.
Basement people on the other hand, are those who pull you down or discourage you. Basement people are all about themselves. They are negative and critical. They criticize you in order to make themselves feel better. Are a few names rushing to the forefront of your brain?
One woman, Traci Cooley of Tampa Florida had this experience with a few basement bums three years later, following the death of her child. “Aren’t you over that by now?” She found that these basement people made everything about them and their feelings; disregarding the fact that it was HER child who died.
So fact is that basement people can cause a lot of hurt (often, unintended) but hurt nonetheless. Now you have no control of the basement people you will encounter who will say stuff that totally pisses you off but what about those basement people that you are consciously keeping around you? Yes I understand that you can’t get rid of family – you’re stuck with them – but you can minimize the interaction. And as for the “gosh she’s been my friend for ages” – if she is not contributing positively to your life then what?
Author Carolyn Myss in ‘Entering the Castle’ suggests the following:
“Imagine a Castle – not a palace, but a Castle built with heavy, thick protective stone walls. Imagine a moat surrounding that Castle and a drawbridge over it…visualize crossing the drawbridge, going under the archway and into the courtyard. Stand in the centre of the courtyard and command the drawbridge to close behind you. Once you close this drawbridge, you are safe from everything.”
I love the metaphor of this castle – our place of retreat – to shield us from the basement people who, if they try to enter will find themselves in the moat! And if you want to make it really exciting throw in a few dragons to guard on the drawbridge!
In his book ‘Grow Rich with Peace of Mind’ bestselling author Napoleon Hill also suggests that we lay out our minds in the pattern of a castle. “At the centre there is a tower, or “keep” which is impregnable as it can be made. Going outward from the keep you would come to a wall not so formidable; and again going outward you would come to another wall which serves as the first line of defense” – if you decide to let the person in.
A person approaching the castle first would have to pass this outer wall. Anyone who has a legitimate excuse for entering your mind with his ideas can climb over this wall however if his excuse is not legitimate then the mere presence of the wall will discourage him. The second wall is for persons who have things strongly in common with you or have something importantly beneficial to share with you at the moment.
The inmost castle of protection is the most sacred and for you alone. When you can find this centre you will find your source of inspiration and guidance – you will find your source of strength. Here is where you will find solutions to problems and find ways to get things done.
When you first start practicing withdrawing into your castle you may find it difficult in fact you may have to physically remove yourself from people. With practice however, you will find it easier and easier to do in the midst of others talking around you. Within these walls you will no longer be affected by what others do or say. You will always have a place to recharge your confidence and faith in yourself and most of all you will keep at bay unwanted, negative influences!