Why the Defensive Stance?

Smile exchange

“I have often depended on the blindness of strangers.” ~ Adrienne E. Gusoff

I see it often.  I see it while walking the dog, while driving and at the grocery store.  I hear it in conversations.  It rears it’s ugly head on a daily basis.  What I wonder is:  Why??  I am talking about the defensiveness that is prevalent in our daily lives.

I have noticed that sometimes people take a defensive stance and are ready for a fight, when sometimes, probably even most times, it isn’t necessary.  Each person is always coming from their own perspective.  We only need to try on their perspective and let them know about ours.  Gently.  Even passing by strangers that are doing something “annoying”.  Maybe they are so involved in what they are doing, they forgot to pay attention.  Maybe they don’t realize they are talking too loud or blocking your way, but they are not trying to be a jerk.  Can we take the time to go the extra mile and be friendly?  Can we notice they are distracted or not paying attention and nicely say, “Excuse me.”?

I mean, seriously.  When I walk the dog, if a person has their dog off leash and I need to pass with my leashed dog, I pull her in close to pass safely, and I say, “Excuse me, my dog is not friendly…” and sometimes I get, “What do you want me to do about it?”  Or may favorite, “That’s okay, mine is!”  (That’s when I want to take the defensive stance and say, “Well, she eats friendly dogs as well!”)  But, I resist the urge and  keep her from biting the dogs that get too close…

I just don’t know why we choose anger, annoyance or just plain indifference when we have a chance to be friendly.  We can have a happy exchange, make someone’s day or even make a new friend.  Then we both walk away thinking how nice the world is, instead of helping to create a tense moment in time.

There is too much stress in the world to keep adding to it unnecessarily.  Let’s commit to adding more smiles and joy into the world instead.  I love to pay attention to positive things.  I love to tell the bank teller they have a beautiful smile or tell the bagger I love his hair.  When I do things like this, I can see they are pleasantly surprised and I feel good.  Then, we both have a great day.

Will you join me in passing out unprovoked compliments, smiles, hugs and respect for everyone that crosses your path?  (Even if they are blocking it?)

“You cannot hate other people without hating yourself.” ~ Oprah Winfrey


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