Some people often dispute anything that appears even slightly as a criticism or negative comment towards them. They justify and argue that it is not true, or they have excuses why this was an exception but, they never normally do that.
The cause of this irritating reaction is because of the need to be liked and accepted. The subconscious fear is that if there is any negative comment, one feels inferior or inadequate and that means the other person will reject them, so they defend their position. Of course, that only pushes the other away, even if they really had no issue to begin with.
The problem with this habit is that it goes totally unnoticed, and since justification is a big part of it, when pointed out, the person will deny that they justify, and then come up with reasons why this is not true.They are doing exactly what they are denying doing.
It can be dizzying to follow the pattern of a mind that lives in fear of seeing itself as it digs itself deeper into a hole trying to get out the other side.
The cure is always found in the problem, so we shall look at the real problem, which appears to be the fear of rejection, but actually is a belief in being unworthy.
Being like a cloud is the true solution. We must become free as a cloud in the sense that a cloud can be strong enough to block out the sun, yet a plane can fly through it without it being disturbed in the least. A cloud is also very secure in its own sense of self, which can be ever changing and adapting to the climate, but is comfortable with itself as it fits the circumstances. You simple cannot hurt a cloud, because it is not fixed on staying the same shape and size, but is ready at any time to accept change.
Being totally independent is simply not possible for a human being. We will always need someone for something, be that to help with food or shelter, or simply companionship. And so bear in mind that the goal of being like a cloud is not to be isolated, but rather to be content with oneself such that one can live and interact objectively.
This does not mean to accept yourself as you are, but rather accept that you are not worthy in your own eyes and to make the changes to become someone you are proud to be.
When living in a way that one is putting in effort to improve ones flaws, accepting negative comments or criticism without falling into a panic that one is about to be sent off to a deserted island in the middle of the sea with no boat, becomes very easy.
In a way, it is actually quite simple in just a few steps.
1 Accept all comments without defending or rejecting or justifying, just listen. To be able to do this, know that your defence is counter productive, it is pushing people away rather than bringing them closer.
2 Know that every human makes mistakes, including yourself. Accepting what other people say about you makes them feel comfortable because they are met with a welcoming ear rather than a biting mouth. People like to be with other people who they are comfortable with. It is better to be wrong and accept criticism than to imagine you are right and fight about it. It’s much less tiring for everyone.
3 Refine your character so that you are no longer ashamed to be who you are.
The power to be able to hold yourself back from verbal retaliation is developed with the exercise; Do Not Speak While In A Group
Refrain from saying even one word when you are with a group of friends or your family for a set time. Just so everyone knows nothing is wrong with you, tell them that you are going to stay silent for half an hour or as long as you can. If they would like to try the exercise, you can each take turns being silent.
You should still participate in whatever is going on as you normally would, but merely be mute, metaphorically, your lips are taped shut. You will start to hear your words forming in your mind and soon be able to think before you speak rather than the other way round.
Once you have worked on being able to hold yourself back from speaking, you may start to see your true thoughts about yourself and your actions that give you this feeling. Now you know what to change in the way you behave.
The website Ethicalism.org is a collection of ethics that give anyone a guideline of how to behave in day to day life so one will be proud, rather than ashamed, of who they are. Visiting that site and integrating ethics into ones life will cure the need to justify and defend yourself, as it will remove the feeling of insecurity and inferiority, or self hatred if it has gone that far.
Since this article is really an exercise in change, we would love to hear your comments on how you, or people you know who need this, progress.