Mindfulness seems easy when everyone is getting along. We surround ourselves with amazing people, we love and are loved, and things momentarily feel great. Then “real life” swoops in, and people come into our lives that aren’t as easy to love. They say things that hurt our feelings, or worse, incite our anger and disturb our inner peace.
We live in a society that tells us the only thing we can do is defend ourselves. We believe we are being attacked! And the other person is mean! (Or wrong, or…)
We look at the other person as “out there” and “not us”, forgetting that they’re simply a mirror of ourselves.
When someone is attacking you, they’re not. We only perceive it that way. They’re attacking the part of themselves they don’t like (and have probably disowned) and call it “you”.
If you feel the need to defend yourself, something’s wrong.
Not with the person attacking you, but with your thinking. Your feeling. Your thoughts are out of alignment. You’re in ego.
When you defend yourself, you’re disowning that part of your humanness.
We all have every quality, good and bad, in our humanness, in our soul’s “human layer.” but our human layer is not WHO we are. It’s just a part of our experience.
We’re walking mirrors. We show each other our own truths, our own humanness. When we defend ourselves, we’re denying our authenticity. We’re being fake- but more importantly, when we’re busy defending ourselves, we can’t see that the other person is hurting. We take ourselves out of the present and into the past or the metaphorical future. “That wasn’t my intention!” and “you don’t know the whole story!” are defenses that deny the fact that the accuser is hurting. Even, “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” is a defense that can be dispensed with. Instead, we can hold space NOW, have compassion NOW, and say, “I’m so sorry you’re hurting.”
So how do we deal with perceived attacks? How do we navigate this sometimes scary world without being hurt?
How to Be Defenseless:
1. Recognize your defenses. Who do you often feel defensive around? For me, I have a close family member who loves to “push my buttons.” I find myself justifying my actions, explaining myself, feeling on edge and defensive. Just noticing that I felt that way was a huge step for me. Make a list of the people you feel defensive around. You’re about to create an amazing new way of relating to them so you don’t feel attacked anymore.
2. Associate feeling defensive with the Ego. The ego doesn’t want us to die- its purpose is to help us stay alive. Sometimes, in our very luxurious, safe world, the ego goes into overdrive and tries to protect us when it actually hinders us. Seeing a bear in the woods is a good time to feel defensive. Talking to a coworker is not. Know that there is no REAL threat to you, only to your ego, and when we’re truly present and aware, we recognize that the ego is not us, just a part of our humanness that we have the power to bypass.
3. Stay present. We want to defend the past and predict the future. We want to paint ourselves as rosy and good and charming. We want, we want, we want. None of this matters, and being defensive only puts you firmly into “what if” and builds a high wall around you to keep you there. This moment is all that matters. Someone is speaking to you, and you’re responding with compassion. That is all there is right now. Don’t slip off into the past or future, STAY HERE.
4. Admit your humanness. We all have every characteristic known to man. All of us. When we own those things we don’t like, they lose their power over us. A defensive person has no power. Only someone not engaged in the fight at all has power, and that is the creative power of the universe. When you’re defensive, you’re not creating the life you want; you’re defending the past! When you’re defensive you’re not creating beauty, you’re imagining pain. Admitting our humanness takes us out of the “war” and into peace.
5. Turn your focus back to the person speaking to you. What we perceive as an attack on us is actually unhappiness within the speaker. This is a profound truth that will change your life if you let it. Ask yourself, “where is the unhappiness here? How are they projecting outward what they feel inside?” this will open your heart to brave, world-changing compassion. World-changing.
When you can look at those around you with this compassion, you’ll be free.
How would you rather feel? Defensive, or peaceful?
Share the love
Get free updates