Tag Archives: emotional

Getting Defensive: Part 2

I’ve been thinking about it for most of the last couple of hours, and I’m pretty sure now that getting defensive in the face of criticism is the worst way to go. It’s unclear to me whether crying is a better option. Probably not. Anyway, I’ve noticed that most people who are members of any arbitrary group get defensive when the group (it’s purpose or existence) gets criticized. The level of defense, something I’m going to measure in Fury Units (FUs), is directly and exponentially proportional to the amount of time and energy the person has spent becoming a member and staying a member of the group.

For the purposes of our scientific analysis, we’ll look at 3 groups who are representative of groups who get defensive when challenged in our society: Environmentalists, Religious Radicals, and Animal Rights Activists. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get started. Let’s kick things off.

The Environmentalists:

mcdonalds hummer environmentalists

I mean, holy fuck do they get defensive. Environmentalists have a very strong self-image as people who do what’s best for nature, which is fine. I really like nature, it’s pretty and it smells nice, which is also a description of girls I like. However, if you can see through the recycling bins and marijuana smoke, you’ll see that most of them have other priorities. You probably heard about the front page story in the New York Times last year about how the #1 reason people bought a Toyota Prius was ‘It makes a statement about me’. Oh the vanity! And that’s only the tip of the melting iceberg.

If we take that one data point and extrapolate it to make a broad statement about environmentalists (which is sheer brilliance, by the way), we can see how this commitment of environmentalists to maintain a self-image of someone who is unselfish and unwasteful (not a word) directly leads to them being defensive. Saving the environment isn’t as important to environmentalists as proving that the rest of us gas-burning, fat-people-hating Americans are wrong. Most environmentalists live in cities and tell people in Alaska that they can’t dig for oil on their land. Most of these people will never go to Alaska, I don’t get it. But we’re not here to get emotional, we’re here to study this group scientifically. Let’s get to the conclusion.

Getting defensive is easier for environmentalists than admitting the contradiction that, by and large, they aren’t outdoors people. Defensive Intensity (1-10): 6 FUs.

The Religious Radicals:

pat robertson sky clouds

Here’s a fun group. The only thing they have in common with each other is the idea that everybody else is wrong. And instead of it just being Team A vs Team B like the environmentalists, there’s like 20 different groups and they all get defensive when their beliefs get questioned. Personally, I think we should just have a beauty contest to settle who’s right. Wouldn’t God make the right people prettier?

To make things even better, there’s a whole separate group called Atheists who assert that all of these groups are fundamentally wrong, all the people in the groups are ignorant blind fools, and they go around spending time preaching this fact that everybody is wrong. I don’t get why they waste their time on something they think is irrelevant. What a happy world we live in.

As I’m sure you’ve seen, the actual beliefs of the religions involved often take a backseat to proving that one group is more right than another group. I don’t get it. Well, I guess it’s good if you like arguing. Let’s just get to the conclusion.

Religious Radicals get defensive because if other religions are right, it creates a huge contradiction, it means their religion is wrong, and it invalidates their belief structure. Defensive Units (1-10): 8 FUs.

The Animal Rights Activists:

Here’s another fun group. From what I can gather, the idea that animal suffering is equal in importance to human suffering is central to their argument. I hope the rescue personnel don’t feel that way if I get in a car crash and I have a dog in the car, and they have to choose between me and the dog to pull from the burning car.

But the rest of their ideas are like: instead of testing chemicals on animals, we should test them on homeless people instead. I can see that, that makes sense. And wearing fur? Yeah, I guess that does seem a little unnecessary unless you killed the animals yourself. Not eating meat? I don’t know, that seems a little shortsighted. Don’t those wheat and soy combines chop up animals when they harvest the crops? And animals eat each other every day, I don’t feel bad for them. I bet a lot of my ancestors got eaten by animals and they’d want me to get some revenge for them. In fact, I’m dedicating my next chicken sandwich to a bird flu victim. We can’t let those birds win!

And why so they get so defensive, so emotional about it (PETA does at least, but there are better run groups out there)? Because they feel that unless they change the minds of everyone else, their cause is meaningless. I guess that’s really at the center of getting defensive: you feel like you have to change other people’s minds. And that brings us to Hero Adage #2: Nobody gives a shit about your problems, get used to it. But back on the subject, the conclusion:

Animal Rights Activists get defensive because they know that getting everyone to accept their beliefs is literally impossible. When you combine that with the fact that their cause is questionably important at best when compared to other causes, they’re forced to accept the fact that they’ve wasted a large chunk of time and energy on this or they get defensive instead. That’s probably why PETA compares animal suffering to the Holocaust instead of admitting to themselves that the vast majority of people will never care. Defensive Intensity (1-10): 9.5 FUs (I know there has to be a 10 group out there).

 

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The Art of Not Giving a Fuck

slim shady lp

There are many skills every person should have in their arsenal. Being a Grand Master of the Art of Not Giving a Fuck is one of the most overlooked and, consequently, under appreciated of these skills. At its core, it is the idea that you don’t need any external validation for your actions, opinions, or emotions. Others don’t define your reasons for doing anything, you do. And if they get misinterpreted, that won’t affect your decisions.

A lot of it is living in your own reality. This allows you to control internal emotions and be ambivalent to the outcome of events. It’s power in the rawest sense.

For example, if a girl/boy (I like how I said ‘boy’ instead of ‘guy’) doesn’t return your phone calls, you get totally rejected by an unattractive person, or someone calls you a ‘worthless human being whose own selfishness dwarfs every other emotion and feeling in your life’: the natural response would be a defensive one. This could be panicking, getting angry, or crying like the little baby you wish you still were. However, I can say that personally, I find nothing more gratifying and powerful than taking a different route by embracing the Zen of ‘not giving a fuck’.

Now, I think there’s two types of not giving a fuck: pretending you don’t give a fuck (defensive, weak) and really not giving a fuck (powerful, strong).

The key to the second one is being a selfish asshole whose own personal satisfaction will not be affected by the actions and words of the mortals who foolishly act aggressively towards you in life. I mean, who the fuck do they think they are messing with your shit like that anyway? Give me a fucking break.

It never ceases to amaze me that most of the people who try to give me advice in life are failures in life. Those same people won’t take advice from you. I think those are the group of people who make aggressive moves towards you in an effort to define your reality. If that’s true, there’s nothing they can do or say to bother me. I don’t have to pretend to not give a fuck what they think.

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Getting Defensive

I got paid the highest compliment the other day: “you never get defensive”. I’d never heard that one before, but it got me to thinking how damning it is to get defensive in an argument or anytime you are challenged. It might be the single most beta thing you can do (ok, that’s an overstatement).

Let’s say someone questions why you get so emotional in arguments. Getting defensive here, bringing your voice up an octave and repeating the same words used in the question: “I don’t get emotional in arguments” just disproves your contention. You just confirmed you’re a whiny bitch who doesn’t have any confidence in disproving the interrogator because they obviously hit a weak spot. You appear (and are) unprepared for the attack, and it makes you look vulnerable and pathetic. Men getting defensive over criticism from a female is just awful. I feel personally embarrassed when I witness it.

Instead of getting defensive, it’s better to either:

  1. Ignore the attacker, roll your eyes
  2. Agree with the attacker and leave them on the attack. If you listen intently enough and they go on talking for long enough, they will eventually contradict themselves. Then you can simply point this out. This is kind of like that Simpsons episode where Homer was a boxer and all he did was wait for the other guy to get tired before he pushed him over. This is a great way to win almost any argument. Very few people can put together a consistent attack where they don’t contradict themselves.
  3. Fight fire with fire and go on the attack. Make sure you attack your attacker on something that hits them harder than what they are hitting you with. They will most likely go on the defensive. Oh, how the proverbial tables have turned (side note, where the hell did “tables turning” come from anyway?).

“Think about any attachments that are depleting your emotional reserves. Consider letting them go.” – Oprah Winfrey :0

I’d like to thank Hillary Clinton’s emotional and defensive stance on Obama’s NAFTA accusations for providing the perfect picture for this blog post.

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