All of us feel afraid from time to time, and many of us put up our defenses in one way or another to protect ourselves. We laugh off hurtful comments, not showing our vulnerability by admitting that they hurt. We bluster and defend our position hoping that the other person backs down. Or we feel that we are really, deep down inside, not good enough, and so we defend ourselves by putting up a front, even before we have been attacked.
And there is nothing wrong with that if it really does protect us. But all too often, a simple defense becomes a problem all of its own.
We might start to laugh off comments made that really hurt us inside, in order to fool ourselves into thinking we didn’t really hurt. But the pain will still be there, eating away at our self belief and our inner being.
We might bluster and keep on saying the same thing, and before long really start to believe it is so, but that will not stop the facts in another’s argument from being true.
Or, we might build up a façade of total self-reliance and confidence, only to see it all crumble away when we once lose the strength to keep up that pretence.
Maybe the best defense is honesty and truth.
I cannot stop another from attacking me, but I can be honest about the hurt. Of course, to tell an attacker that they are succeeding may be to lay myself open to more attacks. But the truth will out in some way, and so I need to acknowledge in myself that the hurt is there, and look for a better way to defend myself than lying to myself.
This may take the form of prayer and meditation to strengthen my own inner being. It may need me to learn and practice new ways of doing things. I might need to admit that I’m not the one with all the answers, and seek help in areas I can’t do alone.
Just like city defenses of old needed to be built on rock, not on shifting sand, our own inner defenses need to have good foundations, if they are to really defend us.
And sometimes, the best form of defense is the admission that we are powerless over others, and over the outcomes of our actions. All we can do is all we can do, and leave the results to the universe to decide. We can only defend ourselves to a limited extent if we are to be truly alive to the possibilities that the world has to offer.