Monday, December 24, 2007

Understanding the Defense

It is Christmas Eve and perhaps you have been shopping all day. Unfortunately, some people will be rude and impatient. It can be very confusing when you feel threatened by people reacting inappropriately. Your buttons can be pushed, and you find yourself acting in a defensive manner. It's easy to react unless you have a heightened awareness that allows you to see through the other person's defense mechanisms.

Enya, a South American Cougar, has felt scared in her new surroundings. Instead of putting up walls and withdrawing, she knows to be quiet, listen and watch to see what is really going on. Enya has an idea that has helped her understand her defensive behavior. Sit down for a moment and close your eyes as you see Enya walking towards you. Ask Enya to help you think back to a time when you felt threatened and reflect upon how you guarded yourself, whether it was through anger, withdrawl or laughter. Remember the triggers for your reactions, and the fear you felt about allowing others in. This will provide the understanding you will need when you encounter someone who has their defenses up.

Allowing ourselves to remember our own ways of functioning, and the fears that made us put up our walls, gives us a way to empathize with another person or animal rather than simply analyze their patterns. Enya is teaching us to reach out with kindness and an open heart in order to help someone through their struggles. By understanding our defensive behavior through being quiet, listening and watching, we will be able to lower other people's guard and support their healing.