I am pretty competitive. In a verbal argument, I like to win. It’s a terrible trait. I blame in on a childhood in debate and model UN. But, as I can see in my own children, I suspect it is just innate to my DNA. This is the thing about people. There are things that are in us that we just are.

This kernel of truth was the starting point for this book. People just have certain innate traits. Defensiveness is just one of those traits. In early existence, the ability to get your hackles up right quick was likely very helpful.  Defending yourself would come in handy in a prehistoric fight with an equally prehistoric predator.

But, in today’s world, when most fights are verbal, does defensiveness still come in handy? Nine times out of ten, your defenses only make things worse. Think of a verbal argument. You project a negative attitude, and your “aggressor” either shuts down or flees.  Either way, you both lose.

Dealing with defensiveness is hard. It’s the kind of topic that makes you feel insanely self-aware, like when someone mentions being itchy and you start feeling the urge to scratch.   But, in many ways, it is also the lynchpin. If you can learn to decrease defensiveness, your ability to relate to others will improve steadily.

I produced this free workbook to help all of us, myself included, become less defensive. This tool is aimed at those working in social justice work in non-profits, including staff and volunteers. But, honestly, everyone who wants to do better interacting with others can use it.

 

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