We all feel defensive, vulnerable or threatened at some point. Seldom do we investigate the source of this. We defend ourselves when we feel attacked or threatened in some way. But why do we feel attacked or threatened?
We can only feel attacked or threatened if there is some sort of vulnerability within us. To protect this vulnerability, the mind projects blame and says “you hurt me”.
But what vulnerability allowed us to feel hurt? Let’s explore this together.
When I was in year 6, I recall another younger child made remarks about the moles on my face and I felt hurt. But now, the same remarks are meaningless. What ruined my day earlier is now a “so what?”. Yet the situation is the same.
We give so much credit to the world and project so much power onto it via all sorts of belief systems. One major belief is this idea that the world can hurt us. That we are vulnerable to attack from the world.
Upon investigation, it’s revealed that we are only vulnerable to the degree to which we are insecure or haven’t owned some aspect about ourselves. When something is owned or accepted, it becomes a “so what?”. When something isn’t accepted, it becomes a vulnerability that can be attacked.
This is incredible! It means that we have the power to become invulnerable to the world. Something can only bother us if we let it bother us.
So how can we be less bothered by things and feel less under attack?
A very powerful way is to see everything as a gift. Recognise that you have that power already. If you see something as a curse, it is only because you have let it seem that way to you.
Often, we just don’t realise that we can open ourselves to seeing things differently. A powerful way to experiment and play with this is to ask:
“What is the hidden gift in this?”
You’ll find that no matter what the situation is, a gift can always be found if you are willing to see it. Rather than figuring out what the gift is, it is more helpful to just open up to a deeper more inclusive perspective. By inclusive perspective I mean, perspectives that include the greater whole.
For example, if someone has acted in a non-wholesome way to us, our initial perspective is often to take that as an attack or as something personal. If we pause and allow awareness to illuminate the situation, then we will see that their decision was about them.
Just as nothing outside ourselves can make us feel anything that we don’t already hold within ourselves, whatever was chosen by the other person is ultimately a reflection of how they see the world, what makes sense to them, and their emotional state at the time.
Notice how none of these factors has anything to do with “me”. When we see this, we may then be more willing to see things from their perspective and come to live in their shoes.
What was it like for them growing up? What must they be feeling in order to say or do that? Notice how with awareness, focus on “me” dissolves into a great expansive inclusion of all.
In truth, nothing is personal, and everything makes total sense from the complete all-encompassing perspective.
We can recognise that there are people in our lives who each see us very differently and treat us differently. Some people are nice to us and some people aren’t as nice.
That’s their choice based on what makes sense to them and their state of mind at the time. Just like our choices are about what makes sense to us and our state of mind at the time.
Even if someone isn’t nice to us, that can only influence us if we see it as personal and if we have some lack of self-acceptance within ourselves.
Why would we care if someone is nice to us or not?
We only care if we want others to like us and accept us. We only want that if we are insecure within ourselves and do not feel complete as we are. And we only feel this way if we haven’t looked deep within ourselves and discovered that the source of happiness is within us right now.
None of these things are wrong and worthy of any harsh judgement whatsoever. If a little kid feels insecure, would we judge that kid and tell them “you should feel more secure”. Obviously not! That would be absurd and missing the point entirely.
The only thing that helps is love and understanding. They are actually equivalent. When we understand, we can’t help but love. When we love, we see clearly and understand. When we see something within that is hurting and insecure, welcoming that part and allowing it to belong within us allows us to feel more whole and less agitated inside.
So, in relationships, when we feel threatened, we can pause and allow awareness to illuminate the hurt and insecure parts of ourselves. As we give space to these hurt parts and allow them to belong within the whole of our being, then everything starts to soothe and feel relieved.
Then we can be thankful to the other person in the relationship for helping bring our attention to a part within that we were not yet aware of. We can be thankful for the opportunity to deepen in love.
Actually, no matter what happens in relationships, there is always a hidden opportunity to deepen in compassion and loving-kindness.
There is the opportunity to let someone off the hook rather than keep them on it as a tool for manipulation. In this way, we benefit the most from relationships in the long run and they become far more enjoyable regardless of what happens.
This has been an excerpt from the Extremely Loving Relationships Program which you can get here.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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