Why You Should Never Defend, Explain Or Justify
Why do some people seem to be forever defending, explaining or justifying themselves? Feeling at times bad to the point where it affects who they are! Are you one of them? One must ask…
- Do you enjoy being around this person?
- Are you one yourself?
This person becomes tiresome, it’s just not fun being around them and not because of a string of complaints, but more because of the somewhat toxic nature of self defense. Always going into deep explanations of why they did what they did. When, in most cases unnecessary and unwanted…
Years ago, as the personal transformation wave was cresting via large group seminars, several of us started using a made-up word to highlight the toxic nature of self defense and explanation: I used dexify. The word even seems to dnote something toxic all by itself. Funny right. Certainly, someone who engages in detoxification (there’s another use that may suggest something kind of dark) seems to be sliding down a spiraling path of negativity. What’s so negative about defending yourself, you might ask?
On the one hand, nothing really, especially if there’s something there to defend. However, I am not referring to the kind of self defense you might need when wrongly accused of something, especially something heinous or criminal. However, there’s a difference between that kind of self defense and the more common defend explain justify behaviour that many of us seem to engage in almost daily. This is done for the smallest of issues and to the other participant becomes tiresome.
Choosing to Justify
To be fair, I know I have certainly done my fair share of in the past. The main problem in day today life is that when you choose to justify, you almost always sound guilty as charged. When in most cases again, the explanation you give is well, unsolicited. I know that when I find myself in justification mode, there’s almost always some part of me that feels insecure about the area, perhaps feeling the need to reinforce my position. It’s all about becoming self aware.
There may well be several moving parts here, but allow me to underscore a critical aspect that may be operative and why justification is usually not all that helpful. It again is often unsolicited…
Some time ago, I gave the Vanilla and Chocolate training example. The gist of the story: after a wonderful lecture on the value of seeking to understand and to be understood, Lila took questions from the audience. One gentleman took the microphone and proceeded to tell me that I was full of beans, that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and had no basis for the point of my view. I considered the comment, and replied, “Thank you and I appreciate your point of view”.
I believe that I demonstrated considerable self awareness and personal and this little exchange has been a guiding light for me to this day I only wish I would have gotten this faster. Learning to see the reaction inside myself as feedback about me, pointing out areas of growth, not something to be defended, has been both expansive and liberating for me. By applying these techniques over time I teach in the Lean Body Academy they will for you as well. I have learned that when I feel the need to justify myself, some part of me is almost always of the opinion that they must be right and I must be wrong, this is how are brains are wired. The defending, explaining and justifying never seems to change anything and, instead, tends to anchor me more deeply in the issue that needs to be addressed.
If you recognize this tendency in yourself, here’s a little tip that I have found personally useful whenever I have the courage to use it. Courage, by the way, is an interesting word that typically means something about physical or mental strength or bravery. Its roots, however, go to the Latin and French words for “heart.” I have heard it said that the suffix of the word, “age,” means something like “wisdom.” If you put the two together, you get “the wisdom of the heart.” Take a moment and think about your response, often times you will begin to realize it’s just not worth it.
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