Have I ever mentioned that I’m one of those nerdy people who listens to audiobooks in the car? I am. Recently, I was listening to an old Deepak Chopra book and he was discussing the concept of aging- or rather, not aging. He stated that healthy relationships are a key to our longevity. And when discussing how to maintain healthy relationships, he suggested letting down our defenses. Because being defenseless is the key to being invincible (what? Isn’t that like letting people walk all over you?). When you are defenseless, there is nothing to attack (Oh, ok… now I get it).
In contemplating this, I am reminded of an argument I overheard several years ago…
A man and a woman were passionately disagreeing. Judging by what they were saying, I could assume they were either recently separated or quickly moving in that direction. At one point, the man told the woman that her behavior was inappropriate and he asked her to lower her voice.
“I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG!” she screamed. “I AM DEFENDING MYSELF AND THAT IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW!!”
Divorce brings out our defenses like few other experiences can. Embittered exes frequently resort to attacking each other (and each other’s car, house, clothes, partners, extended family, etc) instead of jointly focusing on the issues to be solved.
When assaulted by such an attack (or such a perceived attack), it’s easy to shift into Defense Mode and issue a counter attack or, of course, employ a defense.
“And you’re a hypocrite!”
“I’m just not attracted to you!”
“Yeah? Well, your mother….”
“At least my brother….”
While I’m far from being zen enough to flawlessly apply this logic to every aspect of my life, it’s easy to see how this Defenseless Philosophy can help propel a couple out of the “frying pan” and into neutral territory.
Even when the practice is only adopted by one party, the effect can be positive. This was recently evidenced by a mother who shared her story at Co-Parenting 101 when she spoke about being The Bigger Co-Parent (even thought she’s only 5’1”). Her story proves to us that perhaps the best defense is to conduct oneself with kindness and a peaceful disposition.