When Defensiveness Shows Up

There isn't anyone who doesn't know what it feels like to want to defend oneself. Even if we're not actively defensive, the urge to defend our feelings, thoughts, and/or actions is part and parcel of being human.

The belief system around 'getting it right' or 'being good' is built into our conditioning - not just through our parents but through our culture as a whole.  We generally want to feel in control instead of vulnerable. We want to be loved and fully accepted for who we are. It can be difficult to see criticism as simply feedback. We're afraid of to feel rejected, be abandoned, or to be just plain 'made wrong'. We want everything to be fair.

What are your favorite points of view that ignite you to be defensive or, at the very least, want to?  If your defensiveness is hurting your relationships, particularly with your mate or boss, it's important for you to know your triggers and take the time to release them - so you are free.  The freedom to respond instead of react, usually rooted in defensiveness, can make all the difference to the ease and flow in which you move through life.

The next time that someone gives you feedback, and you feel that strong urge to defend yourself, begin by responding in a different way. Make it a disciplined practice to ask: "Is there anything else?" and "Thank you" instead of defending yourself and/or your actions. And notice. What is the impact of this level of openness?  What do you need to believe about yourself and life so that you do this with grace and an inner confidence?


I make it a practice to give what I want to receive. I listen. I look for the truth in what is being said - even if that truth is only about 2% of the content. I rest in spaciousness and breathe...breathe...breathe.


© 2009 Jeannie Campanelli, Inner Confidence Coaching. All Rights Reserved.

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Jeannie Campanelli, Ed.D, CPCC, partners with naturally-giving men and women who often put other people’s needs in front of their own. As a consequence, they are not connected to themselves. Jeannie offers a free e-newsletter titled “Notes on Claiming Your Life as Your Ownto support you in feeling the serenity, vitality and wholeness that comes from inner confidence. When you subscribe, you will receive a free guided visualization to support you in this journey home to yourself. Visit www.innerconfidencecoaching.com.