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We all have experienced times when we become defensive with our colleagues, friends, or family.
Even though it’s a natural reaction, being defensive is often seen as a negative trait and one that can lead to a lack of trust and poor communication.
Being defensive can also be counter-productive, as it often leads to misunderstandings and can prevent us from effectively achieving our goals.
To create healthier and more effective relationships, it’s important to work on becoming less defensive.
So this blog post will outline 8 of the best methods for becoming less defensive, so let’s get started
1. Aim to understand the other person
When receiving criticism, it is important to remain calm and remember to aim to understand the other person.
Listening to the other person and taking the time to process their words before responding is a great way to ensure that both parties are on the same page.
Understanding why the other person is giving the criticism can help put the situation into perspective and can help you become less defensive.
This can be difficult to do in the heat of the moment, but it is important to remember to remain open-minded and be willing to see things from the other person’s point of view.
2. Take a step back to assess the situation
Removing yourself from the situation can help you gain perspective and allow you to consider the criticism objectively.
This can help you better understand the criticism and its source, allowing you to respond to it in a more appropriate manner.
It can help you remain calm and composed, allowing you to address the criticism without becoming defensive.
3. Reframe the conversation and ask questions
One of the best ways to become less defensive and accept criticism without being defensive is to reframe the conversation and ask questions.
This helps you gain clarity on the issue, as well as understanding the other person’s point of view.
When you reframe the conversation, you can use questions to get to the core and truly understand what the other person is saying.
Asking questions can help identify any misunderstandings and prevent any assumptions or jumping to conclusions. It shows that you are actively listening and are open to other perspectives.
4. Remind yourself that it is okay to make mistakes
We all make mistakes, and it is important to remember this and accept it. When receiving criticism from others, it is important to remind yourself that it is not only normal to make mistakes, but that it is also necessary for personal growth.
Making mistakes and learning from them is one of the best ways to become less defensive and accept criticism without being defensive.
5. Avoid interpreting criticism as a personal attack
It can be easy to take feedback as a direct attack on your character, but it is important to remember that criticism is usually just a reflection of the situation at hand.
Try to listen to what the person is saying objectively and without emotion, and focus on the issue rather than the person making the criticism. This will help you remain level-headed and open-minded when dealing with criticism.
6. Focus on the positive and use active listening
Active listening involves paying attention to the other person, allowing them to finish their thoughts, and asking clarifying questions.
By focusing on the positive, you can acknowledge what is being said, while actively listening allows you to ask questions and understand the other person’s point of view.
This will help you be less defensive and accept criticism without being overly reactive.
7. Practice self awareness and take responsibility for your actions
Self-awareness can help you recognize when you are being defensive and to take a step back to evaluate the situation objectively. Taking responsibility for your actions can help you learn from mistakes and provide an opportunity for growth.
8. Take time to reflect on the situation and develop strategies for responding less defensively in the future
The eighth step in the best ways to become less defensive is to take time to reflect on the situation. This includes understanding the context in which it was given and how it made you feel.
By taking time to pause, you can better process your reactions and develop strategies to respond in a less defensive manner in the future.
This can include recognizing warning signs you are becoming defensive, such as the use of defensive language, and actively choosing to respond calmly and productively instead.
Becoming less defensive is a process that takes time and effort, but it is possible.
By understanding the triggers that lead to defensive behaviors, being mindful of your reactions, and developing assertive communication skills, it is possible to become less defensive and more open to constructive criticism.
With practice, you can learn to respond to criticism in a way that is productive and beneficial to your relationships.