22 May 2007

Honest vs. Defensive

Speak when you're angry and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.
- Laurence J Peter (1919-1990)

I just told myself that a couple of days ago! But I showed myself a good example of that today. Best speech wasn't the presentation that I had to do at work. It was when I felt I had to be defensive. The end result? Feelings get hurt.

This is why I am always so careful with how other people feel. I used to tell myself that it's important not to hurt feelings. I would even deal with my own feelings getting hurt without a single soul out there knowing.
Over time I was brought to realize that I shouldn't be too nice all the time, to know when to stand up for myself, to know when to speak up. I realized that I shouldn't always be so careful with how other people feel especially when they are people who do not concern me or those whose opinions aren't worth valuing. I only realized that I shouldn't care as I much as I used to.
So I thought, okay, I'm getting the hang of it. But it's so complicated.

It's hard to be careful with feelings, and it's hard not to be careful with feelings. And I mean not-being-careful in a way that I speak up more than I used to, to just show how I feel. But it's not the first time I feel like I'm doing it all wrong so it must be that I'm getting it wrong. After all, I know I sometimes repeat the same things expecting to get different results each time - but then again it's what I can understand by 'try again'. But 'try again differently' is the whole point that I overlook. The only way I can tell the difference between being honest about the way I feel and being defensive, is by the words I use. And boy did I use the wrong words. The reason? When the going gets tough my mind interprets it as an attack, so I react and realize that I must become defensive. I said 'must' because it's on the contrary to what I've always understood by this: Never.

Never fight back. Never get angry. In contrast with Must fight back. Must get angry. In the end everybody gets run over by me unreasonably whether or not they concern me and whether or not I value their opinions. Well this confused me is all. It isn't the worst, I can tell, but it does get worse each time if you know what I mean. One way or the other, the longer I take to get the hang of it, the more the situation stabs me in the back.

So the question is when do I be honest, and to what extent. And when do I become defensive, and to what extent.

Furthermore I should learn to differentiate constructive criticisms from personal attacks, and to be able to recognize negligible remarks that aren't worth thinking about. At least now I know where it begins: Interpretation. Something so powerful. Interpretation determines decision. Decision determines reaction. Reaction determines result. And a good or bad result is the effect of a good or bad interpretation.

Today's result was bad.
Guess I just have to make up for it.

1 comment:

  1. It's all right, Ira. You're only human. Some people do deserve to get what's coming to them. You can only take so much before finally getting past your breaking point.

    And there are a lot of times that we only realize the right way to respond to others after we use the wrong way. But I do not believe in not fighting back. I wanted to believe in it when I was younger, but by doing so, I suffered.

    So pls don't be too hard on yourself. And I know you'll find a way to make it right.