Our world is surrounded by a need to defend yourself at any point of a challenge. I am certainly not immune to this, but lately I can’t believe how many encounters I am having with everyone who is stuck in this place of defensiveness.
Certain examples are very big, like the slightly agitated secretary at my son’s school. She literally spends the day defending herself and the schools policies and procedures to everyone, so it’s no wonder she comes off as angry and defensive. It can also be as simple as the lady in front of me in the check out defending her reason why she wouldn’t be donating the extra dollar today. Or it can be the lady blowing past the children at the front of the store story screaming she has no change on her today to donate to their cause as she liberality runs away in terror. We all do it, but what if we didn’t.
This need to be defensive, to defend your territory, is often saturated in a place of anger. We often feel attacked and biologically we have been conditioned to defend ourselves on a primal level when attacked. We don’t need to defend ourselves. In today’s modern world, we don’t need to defend ourselves so heavily in every situation we experience. It can be overwhelming though, someone says something awful and you want to start screaming at them, they are wrong, you are right, how dare they be that way? It’s an ugly feeling. You don’t want to be walked over but it’s a much better place to let go. I have had some serious lessons lately in the art of letting go and letting go of your opinions and perceptions can be one of the most liberating experiences.
Lately if I am not able to donate I simply smile and say no thank you – and that’s where the conversation ends. Part of me feels awesome when I do that, part of me says “she’s judging me, I need to let her know why, so she doesn’t”. Ah-ha! So is part of this defensiveness a need to please the other? An elaborate form of people pleasing or worry about what the other may think?
You can never really know what anyone thinks, so there’s no point in wasting your time trying to. All you know is you, so that’s all you should really worry about and since it’s just you, there should be no worry.
I have been in a few situations where I have lost my cool and started yelling back at someone who was yelling at me; but, I have also been in a couple of situations where I detached and told myself this wasn’t personal even though it felt that way and I have actually seen people back track when they weren’t receiving the anger they had hoped for and things just petered out.
I think releasing this defensiveness, is another way to simply let go and detach from the clutter. When you are able to free yourself from that clutter, there’s much more room for love and happiness, and honestly I would rather be living in there.