Can You Take Advice?
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall.” Pr 11:14
The only thing that’s worse than making a mistake is concealing it and allowing pride to lock us in to it. Why do we do that? Insecurity! Low self-esteem! We’re all prone to being defensive from time to time. But if you find that this has become a pattern in your life, you must do something about it. So: (1) Try to listen to yourself as you speak; become aware of your tendency to defend and justify your actions. (2) Guard against defensive body language. For example, crossing your arms when someone is offering input could be your subconscious way of saying, “I’m closed to what you’re saying.” (3) Counter the anxiety that comes with feeling attacked by breathing deeply and silently praying, “Lord, I receive Your strength now.” Combining this physical and spiritual act will help to minimize your emotional response. (4) If there is a genuine and credible justification for your action, state it in a calm, unemotional manner. And if you are really brave, ask a trusted friend or co-worker if you are being defensive. Then refuse to become defensive if the response is yes. (5) Don’t attack your attacker. Simply ask them what they would have done in the situation under discussion. Then thank them for sharing their insights. (6) If you are guilty of a bad decision or wrong behavior, try admitting it before it comes to light. A simple “I made a mistake” will give you credibility, preserve your integrity, and not allow your mistake to redefine who you are in the eyes of others. It may even increase their level of trust in you.