Excerpt About Ego Defense

Defensive Suspiciousness
Our defensive suspiciousness manifests in suspecting the motivations of those we are in relationship with -- our friends, lovers, spouses, bosses, co-workers, even teachers. You might suspect the reason your teacher appears to be there for you, or you might question whether he or she even has the capacity to be there. Defensive suspiciousness is based on cynicism, the belief that either there isn't anything essential in a person, or if there is, it isn't available to you. This is not healthy skepticism, in which you don't know something and want to find out what is true. Healthy skepticism is an openness, not the invalidating, angry, and attacking, doubtful quality of this form of reactivity. What ultimately needs to happen is for each of us to develop faith in ourselves, which means having faith in human nature. When we have that, we can't help but have faith in all human beings. This does not mean blind trust. It means that you know for sure that every human being has an essential nature, even though it might be buried and a person might the acting out of ignorance or cynicism. It means that you give the other person a chance, that you allow the possibility that she can be kind and selfless, even though she doesn't always act that way. It means that you know that such a quality exists in her and in you.

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