I have to defend myself. Do I?

 I was advising a woman about the difficulties that she was having in her relationship, and she said that she gets into an argument with he boyfriend and then ‘she has to defend herself.’

Hey, I have an idea. Don’t defend yourself.  Really.  If he says that your are being emotional.

Say, “Yes, I’m being emotional.  That doesn’t change the fact that ………” 

There is no reason to defend yourself. Why feel guilty about being yourself? Just work at being your best self. 

When I stopped defending myself; our arguments really got to be less and less. Nathan would say I was very concerned about how we looked when we went out.  I finally got smart and said, “Yes, you are right.”  That’s the end of the argument.  He either honored that part of me or he didn’t– sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t.

The other side of that is he says, “Well, I don’t think about about how I look sometimes.”  He didn’t defend himself. So I either honor that that is the way he is or I don’t __ sometimes I do  and sometimes I don’t.

It’s not a perfect world, but the tension about our being perfect and honoring the other’s wishes perfectly is gone. We are who we are.  We do our best and laugh about the rest.

 

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