In his recent article in the Huffington Post: A Buddhist Approach to Recovery: Step Four – Searching and Fearless, author Kevin Griffin writes about how “defensiveness makes any personal growth highly unlikely.” He asks the reader, “How are you going to change if you won’t admit anything is wrong?”
He goes on to explain that, “admitting your failings is a good thing.” But how do we overcome our defensiveness? He talks about dis-identification of our ego, which is a central Buddhist principle, but he also talks about how difficult this is to do, particularly for people who are alcoholics or addicts. Griffin says that addicts have particularly fragile egos and a tendency to be immature, because their growth was stunted.
Griffin’s solution seems to be Twelve Step meetings, because they provide a safe place to open up without fear of judgment. If these meetings work for you, great! But if you’re looking for another way to minimize your fear of judgment, I encourage you to explore learning Perception Language, which is a non-judgmental language.
Perception Language eliminates the need to defend ourselves because it teaches us that people are never telling us about us, they are always talking about themselves—about their feelings and perceptions. Imagine using language in such a way that there is no blame and no praise. No blame is easy for people to appreciate, but no praise is also important, because this means that we don’t put our nervous systems in the hands of other people, asking them to be responsible to make us feel good.
Instead, by using Perception Language—the language of responsibility—we are more self-contained. We are able to openly explore and investigate ourselves without the need to defend ourselves. This is a radically different way of being in the world.