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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Clay


Our defenses are great at protecting ourselves and not so great at allowing us to experience our lives will fullness and depth. Defenses keep us safe when we feel threatened yet fall short of providing us with healthy connections with others. Let's take a brief look into how a part of our defenses work and what they are protecting.

Whenever someone criticizes a thought we draw identity from or a belief we hold, there is a strong possibility we will feel offended. Unlike if someone were to criticize us for something that has absolutely nothing to do with whom we deem ourselves to be and identified by. For example, a basketball player would most likely not be offended if a fan yelled out, “You’re a terrible football/hockey player." Yet if that same fan yelled out, "You suck at basketball," there is a chance that a basketball player could be offended. Yet playing basketball is not who this person is; it is what the person does. Think about the last time you were offended. You'll see the connection to what offended your identity, and there you will find a piece of your ego (identity), and with it, you’ll raise your awareness around it. It is our ego that our defenses primarily protect. Usually, when we are in defense mode, we are not actually in danger of being physically harmed.

Next time you find yourself being offended and defending yourself, stop and ask yourself why. Be aware that only our ego can be offended. Only an unhealthy ego needs to be defended. Ask yourself if you are in physical danger or merely protecting your sense of self. When someone offers an objection, stop and listen, without being in your head. Then, we are able to respond in the best way we know how to at that moment.

We all possess awareness; awareness is our light of observation. Awareness is what allows us to transcend our defenses that are no longer useful. However, if our ego is greater than our sense of awareness, we become blinded by it. We all possess the ability to raise our awareness, giving us the ability to create our life from light instead of mindlessly reacting to it with our shadow.

Defending our sense of self from others
Defending our sense of self from others

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