If YOU don’t have a laugh at yourself when you mess up, it’s ok… somebody else will.
I’m a pastor and have spent years watching people spring back from problems or get buried in them. Money, relationships, parenting, marriage, whatever issue you can imagine.
There are two types of people. Those who laugh at themselves, and those who prefer that others do.
I’ve had thousands of conversations with hundred of people and I’ve noticed a pattern: everybody initially thinks they’re right up to the moment someone forces them to see they’re not. Everybody.
Now watch what happens. One group of people laugh at themselves, and the other get defensive, and then offensive because a good offense IS a good defence, unless you’re shooting on your own goal, then it’s just stupid.
The reason defensive people have for being defensive starts in childhood when they’ve been hurt or nurtured by emotional manipulation or anger, or grow up in proud homes, then a curious thing happens: they make an unconscious decision to survive.
And it feels noble when they’re 8.
By the time a defender is 28 they have a chip on their shoulder but can still cover it because most people have a version of the same disease.
By the time they’re 38 there is a string of broken relationships, a lack of intimacy, or a lack of close friends, but because they tend to surround themselves with people who take them very seriously, they’re locked in a pattern few people escape. They don’t know how to fix it but are wondering underneath that something might be wrong with themselves, but don’t have the tools to address it yet because they’re using them to dig themselves into holes.
By the time a defensive person is 48 they’re insufferable and here’s why: standing on the shoulders of a drowning person to survive is somewhat understandable for a child in a storm, especially if the person has hurt you or caused the storm in the first place,
But it doesn’t look so good at the dinner table.
Here’s the shocker: we’re not trying to survive life itself when we’re adults because rarely can someone actually force us to do anything because, we’ll, we’re bigger I guess? What we’ve really become is selfish, we just don’t call it that.
We win arguments we should lose because once we start, our pride is at stake, and we can’t afford to lose because that would make the other person more important than we are!
Here’s how it plays out:
Person B brings up a legitimate concern to person A. If person A is mature they have a laugh at themselves, say “sorry”, make a course correction, and get on with their lives. And a couple of days later are secretly relieved they had a chance to fix something they couldn’t even see before it really hurt someone.
If person A is immature and defensive they build a siege wall that makes perfect sense to them out of a dozen reasons that wouldn’t exist if they weren’t in charge of the argument. The younger they are the more they feel how wrong it really is, but as time passes they subconsciously still feel the guilt, but they’ve had a series of argument wins because for them to admit guilt they would have to give up control (which they’ve long lost the courage to do).
Every argument stacks up in their favor because there are no real rules for someone who can’t laugh at themselves, just win the argument!
Every time they mess something up they’ve trained themselves to feel hurt, which takes the rules out of the equation, then the “hurt” feels like personal betrayal because person B is not on their “side” in the issue. And the worse thing you can do to them is betray them. Wait… the worst thing you can do is disagree with them. Wait… it’s all the same thing in their heads now.
It’s not easy living with a touchy person. And healthy people put up with it as long as they can, but sooner or later they realize they’re the ones doing all the apologizing because they don’t know they’re allowed to be hurt and do the wrong thing at the same time.
One version of the bible describes love as “not touchy”.
I’d like to do a social experiment where we hand out shock collars that make us yell the REAL reason we’re being ridiculous.
“I bought something I shouldn’t have and feel guilty!!!”
“I secretly think I’m smarter than you!!!”
“I think I’m right when I’m angry!!!”
“I’m embarrassed because I’m acting like a child right now!!!”
This would definitely improve my quality of life,
Until someone made me wear one.