One of the common reactions we can feel when we believe we are mistreated or misunderstood is to blame someone else. Our alarm bells go off internally, a warning signal goes off in our head, or we feel immediately violated or angry. Why blame me for your issues? Obviously, the other person crossed the line, did not get it or intentionally tried to avoid responsibility.
This spontaneous reaction taking place in our head risks cutting off our great tool of rational consideration. Rather than go to our emotions of blame, one should pause and consider this choice:
1) Continue blaming and feeling attacked, or
2) Switch to being open to exploring what is being said and how the feedback could be helpful.
Going to the blame game after this pause may be the choice you make, but in doing so you at least acknowledge that you are choosing to not find growth in the experience. One’s listening ability decreases exponentially when one “feels” attacked or blamed unjustly. Plus, the emotions of being blamed will come to dominate your thoughts for a time, distracting you from positive work and undermining you ability to take on other challenges in the day.
Alternatively, when we choose to take an exploratory stance on the feedback the barn door of options is expanded. One can go the route of using positive self-talk to create more productive options such as becoming an active listener. Doing so also releases your brain from defensiveness to a new relaxed you, creating a significantly better problem-solving capability and yields better outcomes with creative solutions. One will be more energized, optimistic, open, hopeful and more relaxed.
By declaring that we have choices to be either defensive or free to choose enables our minds to be freed up to go in a positive direction. You can switch from attacking and negative self-talk to becoming an active listener and with positive options. The freedom to choose is empowering. Seize that power.