I see that my knee-jerk reactions have to do with being in the grip
of more or less conscious fears.
Original wording (AA):
Were entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove all these defects
We all have character defenses, a whole range of them. Some are pretty innocuous, and some are more problematic. Our character defenses are what provides the material of comedy.
For instance, take a greedy person. You could say greed is a major defect. On the other hand, being greedy can also be seen as a defense against the fear of starvation, of not having enough to live on.
What's a character defense? Something we are accustomed to doing automatically, in order to consciously or unconsciously avoid dealing with something difficult.
Talking about "defense" does not condone the questionable behavior. It just makes it more understandable why people hang on to these behaviors.
You don't use your character defenses because you want to be laughed at. Or because you revel in being evil. Somehow, at some level, you believe this behavior is a protection against something that you fear a lot.
Becoming more aware of your fears
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that you go into a defense behavior when you feel threatened. So, when you are in a very stressful situation, you’ll tend to fall back onto your defenses a lot more than usual.
Step 6 is about getting ready to let go of your character defenses. Which means realizing how much more important they are to you than you had thought. After all, if they weren't, it wouldn't be such a big thing to change!
So you decide to explore your fears in order to eventually be less governed by your fears and your defensiveness… in order to be more willing to go with the flow instead of automatically resisting.