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One thing I do is to ask myself what that part of me is trying to achieve through that negative response. For example, If I found myself really defensive in a conversation I might later review and sort through what I was trying to do by that defensiveness. Your thoughts, feelings or bodily reactions may tell you something about that. I found that I become defensive if I feel attacked in some way. Sometimes, the problem is my perception is off. Other times I found I was reacting to a controlling attitude I picked up from another person that reminded me of a time when I felt helpless to respond. The inquiry gives some answers. Tara Brach describes a process of naming the feelings or thoughts that you dislike in yourself and letting them know that they are a part of your experience. Neither being aversive to them nor clinging to them. It is a tall order but works somewhat with me. Finally, talking to a therapist or trusted person can be helpful. Daniel

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Hi @Wsjuanita

Thanks for posing the question! Nice to see you in the forum once again.

I second what Daniel has shared. Compassionately inquiring into why I act or respond in certain ways sometimes has been very helpful for me. It's a way of asking: What underlies my less-than-favourable qualities and behaviours? We can practice being tender and gentle towards whatever we discover, which is not the same thing as condoning or justifying the behaviour. As Daniel expressed, it's neither being aversive to nor clinging to these sides of ourselves; rather, it's about practicing patience, openness, and compassion.

Have you ever come across Tara Brach's RAIN meditations? I find myself sharing this audio recording again and again; it is a very nourishing practice for me.


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I really want to emphasize what I think is implicit in the others’ responses and that is kind and full acceptance of disliked traits in yourself as distinct from some sort of resignation. Those traits were not chosen by you out of malice but were the result of a wide net of causes and conditions. So, it is like embracing and protecting a wounded child, puppy or kitten—guiding it not to lash out and at the some time nurturing and transforming it. Repression and self-aggression don’t work. I suggest turning the self-critic on its head by kindly telling it: “Of course I see those traits, but far from ridiculing myself for them I applaud my recognizing them because it affords me opportunities for healing and growth.” You still can firmly resolve not to act them out again. That can be a good thing as long as you aren’t harsh on yourself if you fail in your resolve; with kindness you begin again. That is my thinking anyway.

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