“The hardest prison to escape is in your mind.” ~ Anonymous

Are you protecting someone — or something — to your own detriment?

I’ve been guilty of such behaviors, and I know others have been, too. And these behaviors often squelch our personal happiness.

We train ourselves to believe. We progress from opposition to acquiescence to agreement. At times, we tip the scales at outright veneration.

Over the course of time, we discover ourselves protecting a person, belief or dogma — even when our protection proves illogical!

Protecting people, ideas or even dogmas is universal; it’s part of the human condition. We engage in the process as part of a marriage, family, religious circle, peer group, social network or any other organization where a certain mentality is required to remain in good standing. Structures for protection play out broadly, ranging from complying with unspoken guidelines to honoring the written rules. In worst case scenarios, we remain in suspended disbelief, vigilantly constraining ourselves to believe in something we don’t in order to avoid painful, physical penalties.

Our mind does a great job of keeping us imprisoned. It learns well and protects us, too. When properly conditioned, the mind works like a “thought police,” actively safeguarding us from hearing, seeing or exploring ideas located outside the boundary lines of previously approved thought. We believe we are safe inside our self-imposed gates.

While many of us consider ourselves open-minded, we still reserve certain beliefs over which we remain highly defensive — and fiercely protective. It’s not surprising that when entrapped within such confines, we fight to maintain a contrived version of reality. In these places, we become prisoners of our own fears.

In my latest podcast, I talk a bit about Stockholm Syndrome. The expression was coined several decades ago when victims of a Swedish bank robbery curiously protected their own captors, refusing to testify against them in court! Far less dramatic, you can listen in as I explain a few experiences I’ve had in life that also touch upon the idea of detrimental protection.

The goal is not just to have you relate, but to invite you to feel more empowered as you open your mind to new thought.

Our willingness to open up to new light, broader perspectives and alternate ideas does more than free us from hidden fears. It ultimately helps us enjoy greater harmony and happiness in life.

Finally, enjoy listening to college co-ed Casey in this podcast. Casey talks about some of the simple things that make her happy from the inside out, too!

For Podcast 117: Who or What Are You Protecting, press here or on the link below.


Maura Sweeney in Foundations of Happiness

For more inspiring resources on this topic:

Listen to this podcast entitled, Can You Be a Bridge?

Watch this video from Budapest, Hungary entitled, Thoughts Erected in Your Mind

Read this blog entitled, Feeling Free, Alive and Identity-Wise

Purchase my book entitled, Exiting the Comfort Zone

Hire Maura as your Speaker on Influence, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Visit Maura’s Author page for her 2017 Art of Happiness series

Enroll in the Foundations of Happiness eCourse

Subscribe to her podcasts on iTunes and iHeart Radio

Follow her on Twitter

Find her on HuffPost