How Long Does it Take You to Get the Message?
The Narcissism of Resistance
A friend of mine visited the other day and brought sugary snacks into our house again, leaving them around the house for our kids, even after Steve has asked her not to in the past. When I pulled her up on it (while smiling and laughing) – she began telling me that the reason she is rebellious about sugar is because her mother never let her have it when she was a child. She said that when she left home and had her own money she would say to herself, “Now I can eat as much sugar as I like!”
I responded by saying “Yes I think a lot of us keep rebelling against what our parents taught us as kids . . . that is until we grow up!”
After her initial (mock) shocked reaction she took it okay (: But there really is a lot in my response …
When I was at school everyone told me I should study graphic design, but being young and ‘in ego’ I thought I was above creating art under another person’s direction and instead wanted to create fine art and sing in a band. However, many years later – when things were very tough for Steve and I financially (while our kids were still small), I had to swallow my pride and face facts that really the people who told me that had been right and I had been very narcissistic to ignore that advice; graphic design was indeed a smart career choice for me. I started teaching myself from home, and finding jobs I could do to pay the bills, but that really was tough and I wished I had learned those skills while I still had my parents around to support me.
“Being Yourself” (if you are a healthy human) Means Taking on Feedback
I wonder what good advice you might internally still be resisting – just because when you first heard it you didn’t like being told what to do and thought you knew better?
Not all the advice other people give will set us on the path to happiness – but as hard as advice from other people is to hear – it is usually only people who care about us that put themselves in the uncomfortable position of offering us feedback on the areas of our life that may need attention.
“I don’t have to listen to what they say,” are words you should be very cautious about saying. Modifying our behavior from the feedback other people give us (which will be mostly non verbal) is something all humans are wired to do. It is a mutual dance (the feedback and behavior modification loops of two people talking together) that makes face to face conversations so complete and satisfying when we do manage to ‘get in sync’ with each other.
By the time a person uses words to mention a problem they have with you (instead of a frown or other non verbal signs of disapproval) you should be aware that their complaint has probably been bothering them for sometime and is possibly jeopardising the rapport in your relationship. If you just laugh it off as unimportant or decide you want to argue – you may find that person begins to have much less time and energy for you.
If someone is giving us negative feedback because they care about you, as much as it hurts, it really is wise if we can overcome the narcissism of resistance and put a big red flag up in our mind and say to ourself, “This is something I should face and give a lot of thought to”.
Embarrassment is a terrible feeling but it is great for changing behaviour. The work is done if we can only let ourselves feel embarrassed for long enough to know that we will not do that thing again.
However, if someone is trying to pick a fight or is criticising you to excuse their own bad behaviour, that is a completely different matter.
When NOT to Listen
It is important to pay attention to requests people make of you that involve you modifying your behaviour. It is also vital however that you start being able to spot it when someones criticism is really not about you at all.
Can you spot it when criticism that is directed at you is unjust, and someone is in fact trying to make you a scape-goat for their own faults or crimes?
It all comes down to trust. If you trust a person, why resist the perspective they are offering? It is hard to see ourselves as others do and while other people’s advice may hurt our pride, in reality it may come purely from their love and concern for us. Conversely why listen to criticism from people who have proven themselves untrustworthy? In this situation the red flag may be that you need to look beneath their words to see why it is they are trying to deflect criticism onto you and what it is they are trying to hide by doing so.
I wonder how long have you been reading my free articles and I wonder if you have decided yet if you can trust my advice? Or maybe you think you have it all figured out and that the problems you are facing are 100% your partners fault? I wonder if you think there is anything you could change that might improve the success of all of the relationships in your life?
I have spent years researching and putting together the new habits I share in my ebooks and so if you have been resisting, I urge you today to reconsider. What better skills could you possibly choose to decide to become and expert at?
The Love Safety Net Workbook has been put together from over 5 years of research and feedback. If you take on the exercises in it step by step and decide to stop resisting change – I know that all of the relationships in your life will improve for the better, whether you save your marriage or not.
Kim Cooper :)