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Thorns, turtles and Elephants

We do not need to protect ourselves.
Thorns, turtles and Elephants

From the book "Contemporary Parables" by Robert Elias Najemy

We have all heard of Darwin's law of selective evolution and the survival of the fittest. According to the concept of evolution, all beings have developed from some basic primeval cells, which divided and went their different evolutionary ways. There has resulted a wide variety of species of living organisms, each of which has found its own unique way to protect itself, and insure its survival as a species.

One example of a survival defense mechanism is that of thorns which many plants have. These thorns protect the beautiful flowers and sweet fruit from possible danger. These thorns say 'stay away'. The cactus is a good example.

Another basic defense system is that of the turtle who hides in his shell every time it senses danger. It prefers to hide from the reality around him in the safety of its shell.

A third example of successful survival strategy is that of the great size and overpowering strength of the elephant. The elephant is a quiet, peaceful vegetarian animal, which does not bother anyone who does not bother it. It is afraid of no one as has no need for thorns or shells to protect it.

We humans also have our defense mechanisms. Our concern is not so much physical as emotional survival: not to be emotionally demeaned or hurt. We have many fears and insecurities. We feel vulnerable in an unfriendly and often antagonistic society.

Some of us have emotional defense mechanisms like the thorns of the plant. In order to protect our soft and fragile emotional self, we shout, blame, criticize and speak sarcastically, so as to keep the other at a distance. Thus we feel safe. But what we are really saying with all those thorns is 'look at how fearful I am'.

Others of us respond to emotional threats by hiding in a shell of 'apparent' insensitivity, which we develop around ourselves for protection. But that shell also closes us into our room of loneliness.

Fewer of us feel inner strength, inner peace and self-acceptance. In such a case, we will be able to ignore the insults and attacks of the others, as an elephant ignores a mosquito on its back.

We will then be able to maintain our peaceful self and not get involved with the small, petty, emotional ego-games which the others play. We will understand and forgive.

What type are you - a cactus, turtle or elephant?

Robert Elias Najemy, a life coach with 30 years of experience, has created a L i f e C o a c h T r a i n i n g Course over the Internet.His book The Psychology of Happiness is available at

About the Author
Robert Elias Najemy who is the author of 20 books which have sold over 100,000 copies. He is the founder and has been the director of the Center for Harmonious Living in Athens, Greece for the last 26 years. The center has a membership of 3000 clients and 600 students. He has lectured over 25,000 hours and has worked with around 20,000 persons through personal appointments, classes and seminars. He has produced over 500 cassettes and videocassettes with an abundance of information or human harmony. He is not a psychologist, nor a doctor but rather a chemical engineer who gave up his profession 35 years ago in order to study human nature and all aspects of human health, happiness, harmony and spiritual development. He has a certificate in Counseling from the Counseling & Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (UK) and certificates as a practitioner of three forms of Energy Psychology; specifically Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Tapas Acupuncture Techniques (TAT) and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Robert has developed a six-year self-knowledge seminar which is taught at his school and has also been recorded on 200 acoustic and videocassettes and is thus available in other cities. He has trained more than 250 life coaches, 50 of whom now work with him in Athens, Greece and other affiliated centers around Greece and Cyprus.

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