When we’re defensive, we derail our growth.
I’m quick to come to my own defense. It’s an instinct—fight/flight-like.
When I’ve been wrongly accused, or mistreated, the injustice is obvious to me. “This isn’t right. That’s an exaggeration! Hypocrisy!”
These kinds of emotionally charged thoughts flood my mind. I have heated conversations with people who aren’t in front of me—like in the shower—practicing for when I get my opportunity to let them have it. My strategic mind suffers a hostile takeover to this vendetta. Since I’m being compared and criticized, I find it natural to compare and criticize others.
At my own peril.
When I jump to my own defense, I’m focusing on the elements of the issue or accusation that I perceive as unjust, dishonest or inaccurate. As a result, what I DO NOT take an honest look at are the elements of the issue that are still TRUE and real.
In other words, my instinct is to deny, deflect and downplay instead of taking an honest inventory of real and actual things in my life that need to change and be addressed.
Let them say what they say, think what they think, act how they act. Don’t miss an opportunity to be honest with yourself about challenges that are real, patterns that are unhealthy, and opportunities for growth. It’s hard and painful, but to delay the honest self-reflection only makes life worse down the road.
It was never about them in the first place. It’s about you being more YOU.