HomeBlogGrowthEmbracing Growth through Open-Mindedness and Respect

Embracing Growth through Open-Mindedness and Respect

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Be mindful that when you begin to feel defensive, this is an indication that you are giving your power away to others. When you fully embrace your internal power, you will find that the opinions and perspectives of others are just that- and they don’t define you. As you regain your power, you will find more courage to share, speak up, and take charge of your life and your situations to change anything that is no longer serving you. If you feel defensive, ask yourself why, what that feeling is triggering within you, and what your body wants to do instead.

The Challenge:

It’s easy to feel defensive and attacked. When we feel this way, it often causes us to lash out or shut down. When we are defensive, we stop hearing what others are trying to tell us and can miss important messages. We take the other person’s perspective or opinion personally and feel as if we are being attacked or accused of wrongness.

Gaining Clarity:

Our mind and ego are hardwired to want to be right because if we are wrong, then we must reevaluate our perceptions and understandings and change our model of the world and how we exist within it. If our model of the world is threatened, it’s often instinctual to immediately defend it till the very end. It can cause us to double down in drastic ways.

This happens in all facets of life. We see it in religion, romantic relationships, friendships, our work lives, finances, and so on. When we are presented with a difference of opinion or perspective, we are immediately given a choice: Listen and consider, or Block out and defend. How many times have you come across someone who aggressively defended their position on a topic and refused to hear any facts or evidence that countered their argument? I use the word fanatical to describe this, but being fanatical isn’t always overt and obvious, we become fanatical in very subtle ways too. Think of a time when a friend or lover approached you about an issue and you immediately dismissed the idea, feeling like they were attacking you or telling you that you were wrong. You probably can’t even recall why or what the issue was because you weren’t fully listening, you were only preparing your next argument. It likely didn’t end well. We do it as much as others do it.

If we were to stop and listen and hear them out, we would be able to consider their perspectives and adjust ourselves accordingly, honoring where we were personally responsible, and where their perceptions and own models of the world skewed the situation. This empowers us to learn, adapt, and be honest with ourselves so that we can continue to grow and evolve as a person.

The Deeper Issue:

We tend to create conflict cycles in our lives because of this incessant need to be right and refuse to consider different perspectives. The moment we are willing to reflect and consider the feedback we are being given, we take back our power and get to choose which parts resonate within us, which aspects are ours to change, and which parts are mental distortions from others. Intention and Impact are not always the same, and when we can honor that, we find that we can become more courageous to face ourselves and others, owning up to unintended impacts and adjusting the way we do things so that our intentions align with the outcome.

If we refuse to do so, we continue into this conflict cycle and allow this opportunity to devolve into name-calling, insults, and pointless arguments. Over time, people will stop coming around you, or the conflict cycle becomes more and more intense and combative, creating unsafe situations as each person tries to defend themselves.

As a child, how your role models receive your feedback will heavily influence how you respond in these situations and in turn, create stories, lay theories, and beliefs that make up your model of the world.

Different Perspectives:

Instead of immediately jumping to defense and telling yourself stories about why the other person is bringing this up (They hate me, they are jealous, they think I am an idiot, etc.), you have a chance to explore this and break the conflict cycle. The situation will immediately highlight your beliefs about yourself and others, the stories you tell yourself about others and the world, and your own fears and emotions that need to be examined, addressed, and released.

New Opportunities Presented:

If you find yourself feeling defensive, take a breath and calm yourself. Try to hear the words that are being spoken and consider the full and partial truths within them. You don’t have to respond immediately, if you need time to process their words before you respond then simply thank the other person for feeling comfortable enough to address this with you and let them know that you will think about what they have said and get back to them about it once you have had enough time to fully process it. You will find that doing so allows the other person to feel heard and valued and makes them more receptive to your response when you readdress the issue. When you readdress it, own up to your choices and behaviors, discuss your own stories and beliefs that you are reevaluating with them, and apologize where needed.

The more you practice this approach, you will find that your relationships and connections with others begin to deepen and become more meaningful and respectful. There may be relationships that need to end, or boundaries that need to be placed, but you’ll find you have more power, more choices, and more opportunities within your life as you integrate this new approach to life.

The Choice Ahead:

When we become more receptive to the feedback we receive from our lives, we have more opportunities to evolve, grow, and change our daily experiences. If we decide to double down and defend, we are choosing to continue to repeat these cycles rather than break them, and in turn, nothing in life will change.

Are you ready to take back the reigns and learn how to realign your life and find peace, purpose, and happiness? If so, schedule a consultation call with me below. Together we can move mountains and create rapid shifts in your life. Are you finally ready for more peace and less conflict?

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