“What’s the best defense? Don’t be there.” It’s a mantra my martial arts teacher repeats frequently. We practice side steps combined with soft blocks over and over until the movements are reflexive. When someone kicks or punches, you have three options: get hit (OUCH), use a hard block (bam!), or get out of the way. You use the hard block when you’re too slow to move. You get hit when you’re too slow to throw a hard block.
Life’s the same way. Maybe they’re not punching you, but you get attacked a lot. Maybe it’s an abusive comment. Maybe it’s a bold lie, or just someone being disingenuous. Maybe it’s an attack on a relationship, your career, or your identity. You get to choose how you respond.
When you’re mindful and in control of yourself, you can move out of the way. Then you can decide how best to respond to defuse the attack. If you don’t have the habit of moving established, maybe you deflect it with sarcasm (a verbal “hard block”). If you don’t move at all, you get hit with the full weight of it and it cripples you.
It’s like this every time you respond to (or moderate!) a discussion or blog post, too. How you move in response to the energy will define everything about your interaction with a community. Do you have the reflex established to move, or does every blow land, making you angry? Every time you’re attacked is a new opportunity to change your habits.