“Why are you so defensive?”

The question caught me by surprise because I did not think I was being defensive. Being a committed life-long learner, I immediately asked what the person meant and shut both my mouth and the monkey chatter in my mind long enough to hear the answer.

“You never hear me, you just immediately tell me why I’m wrong and you’re right.”

Oh. Well, I thought I was just explaining what I was doing and why, but if the true message you send lies in the response you receive, then obviously I was being defensive, or at least being perceived as defensive. And to each of us, our perceptions are our personal reality.

So I asked myself, What if I just sit with the feedback? Not respond immediately? Ask myself the effective question: what if this person is right? How would the world be different? How should I act and respond differently if the assessment is right and mine is wrong? Why does this person feel this way? What leads him there?

I found a tremendous peace, joy. and freedom in not having to respond immediately and the “What if this person is right?” became a fun, mind-expanding game to play.