You may perceive yourself to be under attack, but you create what you would defend against.
Someone may intend to hurt you, may assault your character or looks, or may abuse you verbally, but you may be sure that this onslaught began within their mind and not your own.
We live in a world in which most people project their fears and insecurities onto others; this is just a cry for help, masked by anger or snobbery. You do not need to make the attack real by defending yourself against it. Turn the other cheek instead and rob that person’s insanity of its power.
That said, the art of self-defense is becoming more important in this crazy world. Remember that self-defense is not intended to injure but to disempower your attacker. The principle is the same: not to accept their attack as your burden but as a way to teach a lesson. Om.