My last blog topic was about blind-spots and low and behold; I have seen a new one of my own! I receive a daily meditation topic unique to my personality structure and yesterday's insight was about defense mechanisms.
A defense mechanism is something we create to protect ourselves, for those times we feel threatened in some way. Do we want our defenses pointed out to us? No way! But, if we are to grow as human beings, running on autopilot will not support us.
So what's the remedy you ask: Going against our instinctive defenses, of course. Sounds like fun, huh? Keep in mind that we have created our defense mechanisms over a lifetime to keep us feeling secure. Unless we make an effort, we don't notice when we're utilizing a security strategy, it's simply automatic, and our egos like it that way.
For instance, I'm pretty well versed in denial as a defensive strategy, especially of my physical limitations, so when my foot began to hurt a few years ago after months of exercise without a day off, I knew it would eventually pass. Wrong! I broke my foot. I denied my physical limitations, and finally, my body took control and said: "Guess what, if you're not going to listen, I'll stop you." If I had been listening rather than denying, I would have avoided months of almost no activity.
Now, I'm learning to recognize when I deny my responsibility when things begin to break down (such as relationships and myself) and do the inverse of what I'd prefer. It turns out I like myself more when I thoughtfully choose my actions and words, and I have a whole lot fewer regrets.
Do you know your emotional defense mechanisms? Some of the common ones are: blaming, redirecting, projecting, rationalization, denial, repression, withdrawal, displacement, judgment, criticism, passive-aggression, introjection, and isolation.
What will it take for you to notice when your defense mechanisms (blind-spots) take over and then do the opposite? And what benefits might arise from going against what's comfortable when emotional defenses show up?
What's your blind spot? Strange question since the name implies you don't see it, right? A blind spot is something that regularly trips you up, or triggers an emotional reaction, yet you just keep doing it and feeling the same way. (Also know as the definition of insanity.)
A blind spot is something that we like to think is someone else's flaw or something someone else is doing (or not doing) that "makes" us mad, sad, irritated, frustrated, etc. However, if it weren't something we're blind to, we'd see that it is OUR problem or issue, not something someone else is doing "to" us.
A blind spot is hard to, well, spot, because we're adept at hiding it from ourselves. A helpful clue is paying attention to that "one thing" that always gets under your skin. For instance, if you frequently feel unappreciated by your partner despite all you do for them, perhaps a closer look at codependency would be helpful. Yikes! I can already hear the rebuffs to that implication — yet another signal to look at YOUR part of the equation.
The more you resist the possibility that it's up to you to resolve your negative feelings or reactions, the more useful it will be for you to dig deeper.
It's up to you to illuminate your blind spots and to try something different. The same old reactions will keep giving you the same old outcomes. So, how badly do you want change in your life?
How do others experience you?
Have you ever asked?
What do they say about you when you're not around?
Do you care?
Is it worth hearing honest feedback about yourself?
Both positive and negative.
Or is it the other person's responsibility to change their negative opinion of you rather than considering your part?
How well has that strategy worked?
When will you be ready to see yourself for who you are?
When will you be brave enough to care?
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian