"You cannot be
defensive and appreciative
at the same time."
-- Abraham, Esther Hicks
I pulled the above quote out of this piece: "You have to come to remember that it makes no difference whatsoever how anybody is flowing back at you, otherwise you are going to be defensive--and you cannot be defensive and appreciative at the same time. When you concentrate on appreciating, then appreciation comes right back--but you are really not looking for appreciation to come to you; you want the feeling of appreciation flowing through you."
I really hope that you are not like me, because I have spent a lifetime being defensive. As I reflect on that thought, I can see how even my self-talk has been all about justifying any decision I made, things I've done, desires I've had, and more. I would have these long dragged out talks in my head as if I were telling the other person all the really good reasons and wisdom in my decisions trying to overcome their disdain for something that happened. Moreover, I have done that in my head even when I am simply imagining their disdain and consequently, my need to explain. And, of course, it should be obvious that the reason for all of this is so that they will like me, appreciate, and respect me.
It didn't matter whether this was a current event, or something from the past where I felt like I made a poor decision. It should also be obvious who is in charge of this conversation--my ego, Mr. I got to be in charge, I have to win, I have to be on top, people have to like me, I should have respect, who do they think they are? Drama, drama, drama.
The good news for me as I am laughing while writing this is that I don't allow my ego to have that kind of control anymore. Does that mean that he doesn't raise his I'm in charge! head from time to time? Not at all. I can't get rid of my ego, but I can realize that I am not my ego, and that the ego is valuable in certain situations, and that I am far more powerful and in control as I desire to take that control. We are all powerful in that way.
I know how this change of power came to be. It came from testing, then practicing appreciation throughout my day. It's practical, and. . . delightful.
If someone says something or does something that would normally send me into full-on defense mode, I can feel it immediately, and I realize what is happening. It is not me. It is my ego that is creating this feeling by the thoughts it is having about this situation. The thing for me to do then is to calm myself to slow my heartbeat, breathe more deeply, and allow the conversation to come to a natural end, releasing my judgement and condemnation.
Then, I immediately focus on something, anything to appreciate. It could be the sky, plants, bushes, trees, birds in my courtyard, books on my shelf. I have now learned that there are thousands of things to appreciate right here in my office! As I do this, I am in complete control and my ego has no more power here and now. I then from this appreciative place, find things to appreciate about the caller, the person that I was dealing with, the situation. I remember that all things are working toward my good as long as I continue to allow that. I begin to see how perfect it is or was rather than how bad it could be. I find benefits, and I see how this change benefits all.
Today, I may still have an initial reaction, but I don't let the reaction rule anymore. I now see the reaction for what it is--my ego trying to do its job of trying to protect me from harm. Now, I begin my calm consideration, breathing deeply, and allowing the conversation to flow without judgement (all ego), and as quickly as possible begin my focus on what I can appreciate, what I am grateful for, how blessed I am, how everything is always working out for me. Because from this better place, it is.
I Used To Be A Defensive Lineman. Now, I Am The Coach. Now I Call The Shots. I Control The Game. Well, Actually, It Is My Love And Appreciation That Controls The Game.
Spread Some Joy Today--by breathing deeply, focusing on appreciation, and joy is right there in front of you, moving through you, welling within you.