Defense is the first act of war.
Byron Katie shared this wisdom and I think it’s true. As soon as we become defensive, it seems that we invite conflict. I find that I have these moments when I try to create boundaries. Now if I was being like water and letting things flow naturally, this probably wouldn’t be necessary…but things are what they are ;)
When we are playing defense, it does give us a true glimpse into how the other person responds. Do they escalate the situation or diffuse it? Do they help you to see the humor in the situation, or does it become extremely serious? This will help identify where the person is on their journey. No judgement here…we are all works in progress :)
As we notice these patterns in ourselves and others, we can move toward grace and love. If a person is responding with hostility and anger, they may be dealing with a lot of pain that is overflowing. How can we become more compassionate and allow that person the opportunity to heal? If we are responding with hostility and anger, we may be dealing with a lot of pain that is overflowing. How can we become more compassionate toward ourselves and allow ourselves the opportunity to heal?
I’ve sometimes caught myself saying, “Pick your battles” as a way to de-prioritize a situation. But really, the only battles are the ones we create. Through engaging in hostility, we are effectively sending out our troops. Letting the situation pass is the only way to end the war before it begins.
Before we build walls, let us first take a deep breath to pause before playing defense and breathe out our compassion. And may we have the courage to allow those who prefer to engage in conflict to flow out also :)
Photo source: CN Wall to North Blue by Taras Vyshnya