The things you don’t want to hear

When you get into conversations that make you defensive or irritated, it's often because somebody is saying something to you that you don't want to hear, but need to listen to

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    A couple looks at each other during an argument, in this photo illustration. Sometimes the most difficult things to hear from the people that are close to us are the very things we need to hear the most, writes guest blogger Trent Hamm.
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The things you don’t want to hear are often the very things you should be thinking about and focusing on.

Whenever my weight used to peak, the last thing I wanted to hear from anyone was a remark about my weight. It made me angry to hear it and I would often just walk away from anyone who remarked on it.

At the various points in my life when I was really challenged by my spiritual and religious beliefs, I would often get very upset with people who would speak out in opposition to whatever my beliefs were at the time. I did not want to hear criticism of whatever it was that I believed.

When my spending was at its worst, I would get incredibly defensive about how I was choosing to spend my dollars and cents. I’d simply say that I could afford it (when I often knew I couldn’t) and that would be the end of the conversation, at least from my end.

I didn’t want to hear the things that others were saying, even when those others were people who simply cared about me and didn’t want me to fail in life. Each time, those things I didn’t want to hear were the very things that I needed to listen to and think about.

Look at your own life and the conversations you have with others. What topics irritate you and make you defensive? What issues, when they’re brought up, make you leave the room? Do you avoid certain people and certain situations just to avoid certain confrontations and topics? Almost all of us have a thing or two that falls under these categories.

Those issues deserve your attention and focus, whatever they are. Why are you feeling defensive?

It may be that they’re pointing you toward an area in your life that needs a change. It may also be that they’re challenging a belief that you hold dear but don’t understand well enough to discuss rationally.

No matter what the case is, you are greatly rewarded by digging in a little deeper.

For me, the best route for digging deeper into a topic is to go to the library and check out some books. I dig deeply into that area until I understand it more thoroughly, at least ensuring that I understand why I was defensive and what I can do to undo that defensiveness.

Usually, I’m led down a path of change in my life or I’m forced to re-evaluate beliefs and attitudes I hold dear (sometimes it’s reinforced with facts and information I can use in discussion, but at other times it’s changed).

Regardless, whenever I actually dig into those areas that I don’t want to hear about, I come out the other side as a much-improved person, whether it resulted in any life change or not. I know why I was defensive. I understand an area of my life that I didn’t understand well before. Often, I’ve made positive changes in my life.

If you’re defensive about something in your life, whatever it is, let that defensiveness lead you. Dig into that area. Understand it better. Figure out why exactly you’re defensive. Look for how you can improve yourself instead of just blaming others.

Eventually, you’ll reach a point where the topic is a non-issue. Either you’ll have made a positive change in your life or you’ll understand your current position much more deeply. Both resolutions are positive ones.

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