don't be so defensive

Today we ask that you pay attention to your patterns of defensiveness.

Notice when you feel defensive.

People feel defensive when they believe that something threatens them.  From there, it is a quick leap to aggression.

A defensive feeling always comes prior to any aggressive outburst.  Before all acts of aggression, defensiveness comes first.

So notice how often you feel defensive.

Some people feel defensive all the time.  Such people usually come off as highly aggressive, and hostile.  Sometimes they may seem crazy.

That’s because most defensiveness is crazy.

Defensiveness is not crazy if you are facing a real life-or-death threat.  If someone is coming at you with a weapon, then defense is a natural response.

But, for the most part, when you are defensive — is it because you are in a life-or-death situation?

Probably not.

People feel defensive when they read things on the internet, or watch the news.  

They feel defensive when they imagine some other person might be judging them.

They feel defensive imagining bad things might happen in the future.

The key word here is “imagine.”

Nothing bad is actually happening.  The triggers for the defensive feelings are almost entirely in the person’s mind.

However, the aggression that arises from defensive feelings is quite real.

So, for example, people who feel defensive around people with different political or religious beliefs, or sexual preferences, will wind up behaving very aggressively — even if nothing is actually threatening them, in reality.

You may sit in judgment over conservative or religious people who feel threatened by people with different preferences.

But you may be doing the same thing yourself.  

You may feel defensive toward many people who pose absolutely no threat to you.

You may even be in a state of chronic defensiveness, which will make you irritable, aggressive, and threatened even around your loved ones.

So just notice when you feel defensive.

The more you observe this behavior, the more you will see that on the whole, it is not in line with what is happening in reality.

This doesn’t mean that some people and situations don’t pose real physical survival threats.

But this is rare, in most modern people’s lives.  Nonetheless, an office worker facing down his boss may just feel as threatened as a cave man facing down a saber-toothed tiger — which is really not sane.  

So just observe this tendency.  Learn to calm down this part of you that always feels threatened and defensive.  Meditation is a tremendously useful tool in this regard.

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