Defensiveness is Weakness – When Too Much Is Not Enough

Defensiveness is Weakness – When Too Much Is Not Enough

A few years ago I purchased a book that immediately began to collect dust on the shelf. Heavy and hardbound with 10392254_stissue paper pages – why did I ever buy this book? I would read a few pages and return it to the dust free place holder on the shelf.

I approached this book with the same energy that I had pushed my peas around the plate as a kid.

Eventually I discovered another version of the same book with a different cover and the pages felt alive. This softly bound friend felt good in my hands. The words seemed to leap from the pages and my soul began to embrace the message.

A Course In Miracles (ACIM) Original Edition, published by Course in Miracles Society; is not really a book but a companion. Dog-eared pages, words highlighted and brightly colored stickers mark my copy. My favorite pages are buckled from the pounding of tear drops. As the gut wrenching process of spiritual awakening ensues, my trusty companion now enjoys the top spot on my bedside stand.

Oh the 1980’s….big hair, leg warmers, and music from bands with names that carried a theme of impending danger and wayward animals.

The only thing bigger and more flammable than my teased and Aquanet gigantic hair was my attitude. Anger and resentment were my allies and anyone that dared to cross my path were fair game for a full on attack.

The three bravest people I have ever met are my father, mother and sister. These dear souls endured sharing their home with me during my “angry decade”. Everyone was either plotting my demise or scheming to destroy my happiness; I was alone and I liked it that way.

Now, just a couple of decades later, I am working to appreciate the value of this anger.

ACIM continues to help me understand this, one day and layer at a time. When I look through the tattered pages, it is no surprise that lesson 135 and 153 are so crumpled and tagged.

Lesson 135

“If I defend myself, I am attacked”

Paragraph four reads:

“Defense is frightening. It stems from fear, increasing fear as each defense is made. You think it offers safety. Yet it speaks of fear made real and terror justified. Is it not strange you do not pause to ask, as you elaborate your plans and make your armor thicker and your locks more tight, what you defend, and how, and against what?”

Lesson 153

“In my defenselessness my safety lies”

The first paragraph reads:

“You who feel threatened by this changing world, its twists of fortune and its bitter jests, its brief relationships and all the ‘gifts’ it merely lends to take away again, attend this lesson well. The world provides no safety. It is rooted in attack and all its ‘gifts’ of seeming safety are illusory deceptions. It attacks and then attacks again. No peace of mind is possible where danger threatens thus.”

Needless to say, if I had met this faithful companion in the 80s and found my way to the depths of these pages; it would have gone up in flames. What was I defending against? Why did I feel attacked? Where did this seething anger come from?

Being a teenager is never easy.

It is a time that great growth at all levels is imparted upon you like a grizzly bear mauling. You try so hard to fit in, wear the right clothes, say the right things, and spend every remaining ounce of effort between academics and social acceptance.

It is easy to lose yourself and who you really are in the shuffle of feeling inadequate.

Whether you are too much of something or never enough – YOU can get lost easily.

For me, I was able to leap between both worlds in a single bound. I was too short, too fat, too busty, too mean yet not smart enough, not fashionable enough and certainly not lovable enough. My beliefs became my reality, not because of what someone else did to me, but because of the limiting box I surrounded myself with. Where is that tardis and sonic screwdriver when you really need it?

Even today, I carry some semblance of these beliefs in my Too Much Not Enough backpack.

Replacing them with self-love and acceptance helps to lighten the load, bit-by-bit. However, along the way I have also fallen into the “ya-but”trap.

As I begin to appreciate that food was the least destructive coping tool I had at the time, I find rouge thoughts jumping into the Too Much Not Enough sack. Scenes from the Warner Bothers movie, Gremlins runs through my head. Food was the best coping skill at the time – ya-but I am still short and there is not much I can do about that.

Diligence, persistence and daily maintenance is required and remember…never feed the gremlins after midnight!

No matter your age or life circumstances – you are only alone if you chose to be.

Everyone is carrying around their own overstuffed bags full of too much and not enough. While the exact details of what is too much or not enough vary, we all have our bags packed.

What if you are not really being attacked by anything other your own ego?

What if you could offer self-love instead of doubt?

What if you practice Lesson 135 today for just a few minutes?

“If I defend myself, I am attacked. But in defenselessness, I will be strong, And I will learn what my defenses hide.” (Lesson 135 Practice Session)

What would your life be like if you allowed yourself, just the way you are right now, to be enough?

Blessings for all the very best


  • Sue McFadden
    Posted at 07:04h, 25 April Reply

    Love you Beth! This is awesome!

  • Beth
    Posted at 07:48h, 25 April Reply

    Beautiful and brave, Beth! xoxo

  • jennbuckwalterjbuckwaltersfinc3
    Posted at 17:46h, 25 April Reply

    Wow Beth, you offer so much to think about! It reminds me of a lesson by Tara Brach where she teaches about coping with trauma. She says that until you understand all of the ways, often ugly ways, that you deal with trauma, and then forgive yourself, only then can you move on. It’s been awhile since I listened to it, but what you offer reminds me. I think I need to practice defenselessness and self forgiveness…if I can put my defenses down long enough to do so. Totally easier said than done. Thank you Beth!

  • Cindy
    Posted at 18:31h, 25 April Reply

    I like that you manage to fit leg warmers, Aquanet, Doctor Who, and ACIM in the same post. Great stuff! It inspires me to get past Lesson 80. 🙂

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 18:41h, 25 April Reply

      Thank you Cindy! ACIM continues to bring unlikely connections for me.

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