Thou doth protest too much…


Confession time: I am a dexifier.

Dexifying, according to Russell Bishop (“Why You Should Never Defend, Explain, or Justify”), is the self-destructive tendency to self-defend — not, of course, when you are wrongfully accused of something, in which case self-defense is quite reasonable; rather, that angry disavowal of others’ comments that is born of introspection that reveals that the criticism in question may very well be true.

I do this when my mom and I talk money, because each time she even mentions money I’m unhappily reminded of just how much of it she’s put out for my benefit, and how very little of it I’ve paid back up to this point. She doesn’t try to make me feel guilty, but I do nonetheless because in an ideal world I would have already paid back the debt manifold. My dexifying, then, is a deflection in the hopes that she won’t look at me with the same harsh stare that I often turn on myself.

There are other times, too, always during some kind of argument or discussion in which I’m called out for what I think or how I say it. All too often I fall into the trap of arguing with a brick wall and trying to persuade the other person that this is in fact how I see things, when I know that a) they’ll never agree with me, and b) I seem far less secure in my own position the longer I argue about it.

From now on I’m going to try and take the example of Buckminster Fuller, per the anecdote Bishop shares in his article — rather than immediately jumping back with a justification, however right it is, I will use a quiet moment to reflect on whether the comments at hand are legitimate or speak to something inside of me and, if not, I will simply and politely dismiss them with a “thank you.”

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