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Melli O'Brien



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Defusing Defensiveness

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

So yesterday I spoke about the idea

of letting go of right and wrong.

And today I'm going to continue with that

same theme, but don't worry if you didn't

catch yesterday's Daily Mindfulness,

you can totally pick up here today.

So I think most of us would agree

with this statement that being happy

is more important than being right.

But even though we might agree with that

statement, a lot of the time we hang on

to our viewpoints, our beliefs, and our

perceptions as if our life depended on it.

You know, even when it's a relatively

minor point, like what cheese might be

the best one to buy at the store, many

of us will clutch on to our opinions

with almost like a religious fervor.

That's only the little issues.

When it comes to the bigger

one, things get really hairy.

But the more we insist that we are

right and the other is wrong, the

more anger frustration we feel.

You've probably experienced this, right?

And the more we drive a wedge between

ourselves and the other, and the more we

restrict our ability to truly listen and

perhaps learn something, and importantly,

the more we cut ourselves off from

our true nature, from being present.

So knowing that I decided a year ago

to start doing my very best to let

go of my attachment to being right.

And it's not always easy.

And I often still fail at it.

It's an ongoing practice.

I often still have the urge to defend my

viewpoint or talk more than I listen, or

to find flaws in the other person's way

of seeing things or believing things.

Or sometimes I feel an urge to just

dismiss their message internally

and not really listen to it.

So my practice, and this is something

that I mentioned as a part of

yesterday's Daily Mindfulness, but it

really is worth repeating, my practice

is noticing when all of this comes

up inside of me, that defensiveness,

and as best I can letting go of the

need to be right again and again.

And I have a simple way of doing this.

So as soon as I notice myself kind of

thinking they're wrong, or I'm not buying

this, I have this inner defensiveness.

I switch from the attitude of

this kind of closed off-ness

to, hmm, isn't that interesting.

So I'll say that to myself

mentally, and then I become present,

open and curious, and I listen.

And I notice over time when I do

this, how much deeper and richer my

relationships become, how much more

relaxed and at ease I feel when others

are sharing all kinds of viewpoints

and how present I can be with them.

Now I also notice how much more

I've been able to learn and grow

when I let go of my own viewpoints.

And I really listen with

openness and curiosity.

So if this resonates with you, if

you're curious about it, I invite you

to try out this really simple practice.

The next time you feel defensive or

holding onto your idea of being right.

Just try mentally saying to yourself,

hmm, isn't that interesting.

And then just kind of lean

into what's there to be heard.

I think you'll find this practice has

the power to diffuse tension and anger

and create more connection and joy in

your relationships and in your life.

So as always, thank you for your

practice and your presence here with us.

And now let's settle in

for today's meditation.

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