Are you being defensive?

There are many situations where we feel the need to defend ourselves.

Fear lies at the core of our need to defend; the fear of being taken for granted, the fear of being exploited, of being found out, of not getting enough, or being left out or the fear of being annihilated i.e. threat to survival.

But in most instances our defensiveness is usually less about an actual fear and more a cloak to mask our insecurity. The external situation is merely a trigger, which exposes this insecurity.

What we don’t realize is that defensiveness is an energy drain, a sign of imbalance.

Individuals who are balanced, or rooted in themselves are at peace with their surroundings. They don’t feel the need to apologize for or defend what they are, nor do they feel driven to judge others. They’re like flowers blooming in an open field, sharing their beauty with everyone. A flower is not defensive; its beauty speaks for itself. When a flower blooms, it radiates beauty. It throws itself open to the nectar-seeking bee and butterfly, surrendering its sweetness freely and receiving from its beneficiaries the gift of cross-pollenization.

Truth, like a flower, puts up no defense because it needs no defense. It gives freely and receives abundantly. A person enjoying Life Balance is leading a life of truth.

Only when egotism disturbs Life Balance does defensiveness enter the picture. Ego-driven people feel the need for armor to protect them from the outside world. They become control-driven as opposed to objective-driven.

Ego often enters on the coattails of superiority complexes or inferiority complexes, both of which are energy wasters.

People with superiority complexes look down on people who are different from them. When this happens, the objects of their scorn may feel neglected, unimportant, and isolated. When they feel this way, you can’t rely on their help. You’ve made no investment in the relationship, so you draw no dividends from it.

People with inferiority complexes think they are incapable of accomplishing the things ordinary people accomplish. That in itself indicates egocentricity. They think their perceived shortcomings make them something special, apart from those who are fortunate enough to possess competence. As a result, they never try to live up to their potential, and all the talent and energy they possess go to waste.

We all are good at some things and not so good at others. Because somebody else is better at a particular thing than you are doesn’t make you inferior or the other person superior. Look at the human body. You wouldn’t try to tie a knot with your toes, and you wouldn’t try to kick a football with your fingers. The Christian apostle Paul compared humanity to the human body and observed: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you’; nor the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ Quite the contrary, those organs of the body which seem to be more frail than others are indispensable, and those parts of the body which we regard as less honorable are treated with great honor. … If one suffers, they all suffer together. If one flourishes, they all rejoice together.”

The divine spark that bestows individuality also bonds individuals in a common humanity. We are all from the same source.

The philosopher/poet Rumi put it beautifully: “We are all fellow travelers in a journey of life facing the same seasons of life.”
Strategies for Avoiding Egocentricity
Here are some strategies for avoiding egocentricity:
1. Be non-judgmental
2. Remember you are not your thoughts. Hence choose your thoughts carefully.
3. Respond to situations instead of reacting
4. Cultivate objectivity to remain focused and clear about goals.
5. Invite love into your life.

(Adapted from the book, Life Balance, The Sufi way by Azim Jamal & Nido Quebin)

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