It’s so easy to get defensive when someone, especially a loved one, thinks or acts differently from what you think is “right.”
It just seems natural or “healthy” to defend a belief and make the other person “see the light”…
Or in other words, make the other person wrong.
In some weird way, we believe the automatic defensive attitude will get us what we want…
But it never does. It just creates separation, distance and misunderstanding.
Susie remembers automatically lashing out at Otto because of his “belittling” tone of voice when she couldn’t figure out some computer issue.
She became defensive and then Otto became defensive and angry.
After all, he was just trying to help and unaware of the meaning Susie attached to his tone and words.
In fact, he was unaware that he even had a belittling tone of voice!
If you stand back and look closely at what’s going on during times like these like we finally did…,
You can see that your heart closes, you build walls, and any possibility of connection, love and understanding evaporates.
When connection, love and understanding becomes more important than believing your story about the other person…
When you see that defensiveness only creates defensiveness from the other person, along with arguments and shutting down…
You can choose what we’re calling an undefended heart and live with more love in your life…
And you can choose it moment by moment.
When Susie saw that her defensiveness only stirred up defensiveness and anger in Otto…
She made the choice to step out of it and shift her attention inside her.
When she did that, she saw the meaning she put on Otto’s tone of voice was that he thought she was stupid which she’d often felt with her father.
When she told Otto her discovery, he softened and he revealed that his “tone” could have come from his uncertainty that he could fix the computer issue.
It was nothing about Susie.
She’d been defending against the fears inside her that she really was stupid and nothing that was real.
This was a powerful lesson for us and showed us the possibilities for love of an undefended heart.
We all have different ways of seeing the world, mainly from past experiences, that create different beliefs.
It’s just a given in relationships, especially with those closest to us.
When there are differences, it’s so easy to fall into defensiveness, thinking you have to stand up for yourself.
But when you see there’s nothing to defend and that defensiveness doesn’t get you what you want anyway…
You can choose to listen for possibilities instead of arguing.
When you do, you’ll be able to experience the beauty, the gifts and the many miracles that can come to you in a relationship when you live with an undefended heart.
What if you think there’s really something to defend?
You can become aware of the feelings inside that come up from the thoughts that you must defend your point of view…
And then ask yourself if defending will get you what you want or not…
Or will an open, undefended heart filled with possibilities be what’s called for instead.
The choice is always yours.