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One mental habit that takes up a LOT of time and energy is defending ourselves.
Here’s an example:
Someone says: “I wish there was coffee. I’d really love a cup.”
Defender: “You never said you were going to want coffee, so I didn’t prepare for that. If you had let me know you were going to want coffee I could have gotten it for you, all you had to do is let me know, but you never said anything about coffee even though we talked about what we’d do today three times. You never once brought it up. So, I had no way of knowing. You never said anything to me about coffee. Don’t blame me that there’s no coffee.”
Someone: “Right, I get it. You didn’t make any mistakes. I never thought about it until right now. It was just a thought ‘it would be nice to have coffee now.’ It’s not a big deal. I don’t need any coffee. No one is blaming you.
Defender: “It’s not my fault there’s no coffee. You never mentioned that you might want coffee. I had no idea that you might want coffee. If I’d known, I could have prepared. I would have been happy to get you some coffee and have it ready for you if I’d known, but you never said anything.”
Someone: “It’s cool. Not a problem. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
Defender: “But if you’d just told me you could have had what you wanted. I could have done that for you. I just had no way to know, because you never said anything.”
Someone: “I get it. I didn’t think of coffee till right now. Can we please stop talking about this?”
Many of us has some version of this defensive habit. It’s another way that we can recognize that we have deep seated belief that we’re bad, wrong, not enough, too much, unlovable, unworthy and it’s all a big hoax and it can get triggered so easily.
All of that mental gymnastics takes a lot of energy and it’s wearisome to everyone involved. It can suck the sweetness out of life. How do we get out of the pattern?
Here’s what I did: I simply started to notice it and to notice that when I was defending myself I didn’t feel good. My peace felt temporarily gone. I learned to stop mid-sentence and do a u-turn.
Instead of defending myself, I started to simply take 100% responsibility for everything that was happening and eliminate all blame.
I have found that taking 100% responsibility without any blame eases my pain and that’s a worthwhile gain!
Try it and see for yourself!
We can be masterful at living this life and having relationships. It takes effort, but it’s SO worth it!
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