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    Olesya Luraschi.

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The Danger in Defensiveness

We all know that the capacity to successfully take criticism is a critical skill for personal development and job success.

Yet, most of us lack a useful framework on how to do this in the moment. As for many of us, the instant reaction to criticism is defense.

David Burns offers the thought-provoking concept of the law of opposites which challenges our natural impulse to get defensive when faced with unfair or unreasonable criticism.

Recognizing the Law of Opposites:

According to the law of opposites, responding defensively to criticism only strengthens its legitimacy. Taking the paradoxical approach of genuine agreement, on the other hand, disarms criticism and opens the way to constructive debate and personal progress in the professional sphere.

Embracing Paradoxical Agreement: In the professional realm, embracing paradoxical agreement is temporarily putting defensiveness aside when confronted with criticism. Instead, you actually agree with the criticism, fostering open dialogue and exhibiting openness to diverse points of view.

This strategy, paradoxically, questions the veracity of the critique while cultivating an environment conducive to professional development.

The Perils of Defensiveness: Defensiveness can harm relationships and impede personal growth. Individuals who become defensive frequently miss out on possibilities for learning and progress. It obstructs the free flow of ideas and hinders progress by creating hurdles to efficient communication and collaboration.

When faced with criticism, we can challenge our natural thought patterns by embracing the law of opposites and letting go of defensiveness. Instead of reacting rashly, individuals can pause, reflect, and respond in a way that is consistent with their long-term personal and professional growth goals.

Effective Communication and Relationship Building: Genuine agreement with criticism promotes communication and relationship building. It exemplifies active listening, comprehending opposing points of view, and engaging in constructive discussion.

We can then create an atmosphere of trust, respect, and collaboration by embracing the law of opposites and transcending defensiveness—essential components for building effective working relationships.

Professional Growth and Self-Reflection: The rule of opposites pushes professionals to engage in self-reflection and introspection. Individuals can explore fresh viewpoints, uncover opportunities for growth, confront biases, and cultivate greater self-awareness by temporarily putting defensiveness aside.

Integrating the law of opposites into one's professional life requires boldness, self-awareness, and a commitment to continual personal improvement. Yet, those who adopt this approach can negotiate criticism, overcome defensiveness, and create an environment that promotes growth, empathy, and honest communication.

Remember that overcoming defensiveness that does not serve us is a process. It does not happen overnight and requires practice and effort.