There is a side of you who defends his actions against the consideration of doing differently. “But, that’s not all of me!” you might say (defensively), and you’re right. But what does that part of you do to you?
Well, one thing it can do is act like a shield against the wrong things, things that can actually help you. It holds back the desire to learn and grow, become better and more free inside. It’s that voice inside your head (or out loud) that talks like this “Just shut up! You don’t know me! Go away!” and causes you to push away from people. Always insistent and alarmed by a suggestion that you might be doing the wrong thing.
But learning is the process of discovering that you were wrong, again and again. You didn’t know it all, there was more to it than you thought. That wall of defensiveness, then, will stop you from learning. And learning renders you more capable to move freely and intelligently in a new area of life. If you push away from the idea that you could be wrong, then you also push yourself down too, you limit your capabilities. Rather than feeling like you can try new things, learn about yourself, or consider where your actions have caused harm freely, you learn resentment, denial of your feelings, and living a life where you try to avoid the things that push your buttons.
“But I don’t want my buttons pushed!” you might say. I hear you. But you can also dismantle the buttons. And defensiveness is one of those buttons.
How do you dismantle it? Well I’m sure you could do it lots of ways, but for me, my Nurturer kicked Defensiveness’ ass. What is a kick? Just a way of expressing the resolution, in the face of defensiveness, that to learn and grow one must be willing to recognize when one is wrong. My Nurturer is someone who wants to learn how to better care for others, and he knows he’d be a fool to stop himself with defensiveness. That’s why he could bust down that barrier.
So why keep defensiveness around in the first place? It protects your current attitudes and beliefs, and gives you a sense of security and certainty. It’s just that certainty might sometimes be false. Not always! But sometimes.
Remember: just because your walls are down doesn’t mean you have to accept everything everyone says about you. Maybe it’s true, and maybe it’s not. And you have the ability to take the information, consider it, and come back with your conclusions. You might totally change your view of the world. That’s ok. You’re learning. The real question is, what is your freedom to grow worth to you?