“Women defend themselves by attacking, just as they attack by sudden and strange surrenders.”- Oscar Wilde
This money-saving journey has taught me something about myself that I hadn’t expected. I’ve discovered that I’m very defensive when I feel I’m being criticised, even if the other person did not intend to attack or offend me.
This defensiveness asserted itself in several situations recently.
- Firstly, when one of my housemates sent me a message to say that the house was very dirty, and hadn’t been cleaned recently. She felt that she had been taking on the cleaning single-handedly, and was therefore upset.
- Secondly, when my parents looked at my budget, in considering whether to give me a short-term loan, and told me that they were shocked at my high level of spending. They felt it was outrageous that I, as an individual, spent more on certain categories than they did as a family.
With hindsight, I find it very easy to see the point of view of the other person. Indeed, with each of the examples above, I’ve given a justification of their position.
What I was going to do next is tell you what I felt at the time these things occurred. However, I’ve now decided not to do this. Not only might it be hurtful, but it would also be unnecessary. Suffice to say, at the time I was very angry, and deflected every comment back onto the other person, in a rather unpleasant manner.
So, what exactly does this have to do with my theme, Shopaholic Cuts Back?
Well, I’ve discovered that the reason I failed in my previous attempts at cutting back was because I refused to acknowledge that my spending was out of control. I had a stroppy teenage response to every constructive suggestion. Parents and friends who suggested ways of cutting back were given short shrift, but they didn’t generally intend to be attacking or accusatory. I felt blamed, and I lashed out in a fight, rather than a dialogue.
A couple of examples to illustrate the point:
| “Oh, you go to the posh gym”
|“It’s on my way. If I had to take a ten-minute detour to get to the pool, I’d be far too lazy to ever get to the door.”|
|“Why not sell some books to make some money?”https://shopaholiccutsback.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/making-money-is-art/||“I don’t get rid of books.”|
Lesson learned. For the remainder of these first 90 days, at least, I will consciously try to be less defensive and more open-minded. I’ve seen how it’s hindered me when trying to cut back, and I’ve seen how uncomfortable it’s made me in day-to-day life. I shall try to be less stuck in my ways (I’m only 24, for goodness’ sake!) and less sensitive when I feel I’m being criticised. It just needs a step back, to look at the picture from someone else’s position, to change the way you live.
I really like this post. Nobody, if they’re honest, likes being criticised and we all get defensive. But it’s really great that you trying to deal with criticism more sensitively and maturely. Good for you 🙂