Most of us do it. We automatically become defensive at the slightest hint of criticism. We cannot bear to leave an accusation hanging in the air, no matter how trivial that accusation may be. We falsely believe that by defending ourselves, we are being strong and assertive. But the opposite may in fact be true. Defensiveness weakens confidence and damages relationships.
Truly confident people don’t defend themselves. They don’t feel the need to ram their ideas down your throat. They are happy for you to have your opinions. They are quietly confident. They are not easily offended and so don’t feel the need to be defensive. We can learn a lot from truly confident people.
Defensive people on the other hand are easily offended. They take things personally. They feel the need to correct you and can project a false air of confidence. But behind that facade is a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Being in a relationship with someone who is very defensive is hard work. Defensiveness stifles empathy and creates tension.
To increase your confidence and improve your relationships, try reducing your defensiveness by:
- hearing your partner’s complaints and validating their feelings
- allowing some things to go through to the keeper
- letting others have their opinions
- resisting the urge to correct false accusations
- blocking cyberbullies
- accepting that not everyone will agree with what you say