How To Stop Being On The Defensive!
DEFCON is the acronym for Defense Ready Condition. It is what the Pentagon uses to indicate the level of threats the country faces from other nations, which then determines readiness for any potential response.
There are five levels of DEFCON.
"DEFCON 5 is the lowest state of readiness, while DEFCON 1 is maximum readiness, meaning a nuclear war is about to begin or already has begun. Although speculation abounds, officials never publicly state which DEFCON level the country is under, for security reasons" as described by USA Today.
This means that sometimes the country is assuming a threat and or has evidence of a threat. Either way, the Pentagon will do what they do best to get the country ready to defend itself against any imminent attack.
So why am I talking about DEFCON?
Some of us are like the US Armed forces, always waiting for an attack on our character. We live with anxiety, fear, shame, and helplessness, and we are often insecure about what others will say about us.
Today, my advice goes to those who are not above DEFCON Level 3, I mean those who are able to recognize their defensive default.
Because I believe they can take action to rescue themselves. And, if you are at a level higher I would encourage you to seek help. Not coaching. Perhaps therapy.
Arline Cuncic, a writer at Very Well Mind shares examples of such defensive behaviors. Her list is pretty easy to use for self-assessment.
She says when you feel criticized you may engage in any of the following behaviors.
Stop listening to the other person.
Make excuses about whatever you are being criticized about.
Blame the other person for what they are criticizing you about.
Accuse the other person of doing the same thing.
Try to justify your actions.
Bring up past things that the other person did wrong and avoid talking about the current issue.
Tell the other person that they should not feel the way that they do.
If any of these behaviors resonate with you then you, my friend, are in DEFCON more often than you want to be.
What happens when you are on the defensive?
When you engage in this behavior it means you are not aligned with who you want to be when certain circumstances happen. And when you are not aligned with who you want to be, you sacrifice your emotional freedom.
In fact, defensive behavior will leave you feeling worse because you will always feel like an outcast, and problems will never seem to be resolved.
But the deeper problem is the longer you live in this state the highly likely you are to burn out!
However, all hope is not lost!
Many before you have struggled and continue to struggle with the same so you are not alone.
We do not choose these behaviors consciously. Often times it is our natural reaction to criticism, condemnation, blame, and shame, that was learned early on in our childhood as a means to protect ourselves.
Here's what you can do to help yourself.
So how do you help yourself get out of this spin and create the emotional freedom you desire?
In order for you to choose emotional freedom, you will need to do the following;
First, recognize the behavior when you engage in it.
Second, allow yourself some compassion, and recognize that it is your natural reaction and it is okay.
Third, Take a pause and accept that you were about to be reactive.
Then ask yourself, "who do I want to be when this circumstance happens again."
By doing this, you will be able to slowly reverse the natural reaction of the brain to resort to defensive behavior.
You will be teaching the brain that whereas such behavior has worked in the past, albeit with a whole of negative energy, it can learn something new.
You will be trying on new habits so remember to allow yourself patience and compassion until they stick.
If you find yourself trying too hard to not defend yourself, DM me for your free consultation so I can explain how I can help.
When you join my burnout coaching program you will feel the emotional freedom you so desire in less than four weeks while creating meaningful relationships at work and at home.
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