We get defensive when we want to protect ourselves – our ego, our self-image.
We usually create some sort of barrier between ourselves and the other. And we simultaneously begin to perceive them as adversary. And we shut down to seeing their perspective and motivations. We see the situation only from our own perspective – as if they are intentionally trying to hurt, manipulate or control us.
There usually is a reasonable explanation for the other person’s actions or words. Even if it is only from their perspective. –
Reflect on when and why you respond with defensiveness. Ask yourself:
1. Do I feel safer when I am defensive? (most people actually feel threatened and insecure and usually perceive others to have some kind of power over them)
2.What happens to my confidence when I am defensive? (most people feel that when they have to prove themselves, they feel insecure and less confident)
3. What happens to my sense of competence when I am defensive? (most people feel that when they prove their competence, they somehow feel less competent)
4. What happens to my ability to learn when I am defensive? (most people shut down and are unable to take in new information) –
In reality, acting all defensive is more likely to make you feel unsafe, insecure, incompetent, and unwilling to learn what is going on for the other person. lose-lose.
There are better ways to respond – without defensiveness. (stay tuned)