Because you don’t want to.
Those five words should be reason enough not to do something.
But that isn’t enough for certain people. They don’t agree that the word no is a complete sentence. They’re always asking us to convince them that our desires are okay. Demanding that we justify our choices in a way that makes sense to their worldview.
Does this interaction infuriate you?
If so, you’re not alone. People’s criticism of our choices can easily send us off into a rage and a torrent of explanation.
It’s difficult to resist. When people start picking at our souls, we scramble for a good reason to justify our preferences until we get our defenses back up.
And we all know it’s not the best use of our brain power. Anytime we’re spending too much of our thought process on things we don’t want, we’re not being responsible shepherds of our own energy.
Codependents learn in support groups about a concept called jade, which stands for justifying, arguing, defending and explaining.
This can be hard for people like us since we’re so conflict avoidant, but it’s a bell of awareness we can use to monitor and, if need be, correct our behavior.
My defensiveness typically shows up in the form of perspiration, racing heart rate, fast talking, short answers, and my personal favorite, making immature, sarcastic, passive aggressive jokes.
It never occurred to me until my wife pointed it out when we first started dating, but sure enough, it’s there.
You transform into a teenager around around certain people, she observed.
Guilty as charged. When people questioned my preferences, it would feel like being in high school all over again.
Thankfully, my wife’s loving mirror helped me learn how to read my own signals. And over time, it’s became easier to nip my defensive reactions in the bud and stay present with the people who challenge me.
It can still be difficult, though. Many of my choice are made as expressions of my identity, so when people call them on the carpet, it can feel like an attack on the self.
Perhaps the goal, as with most things, awareness.
We remain alert to the people and situations that trigger pressure in us.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How can you check backward in time to discover what triggered your insecurity?