How To Stop Being So Defensive...anyone?

So I have a tendency to get defensive. Today at work I ended up having an argument with a coworker and losing my temper a bit with her because of this tendency of mine. Not my proudest moment. I of course apologized and we made up, but I still feel very badly about it. The way this coworker criticized me was rather harsh (which she herself acknowledged and on her end of things agreed to be more tactful), but at the same time, I overreacted when I snapped at her. I also did it in front of a customer which also didn't make me very proud. I feel ashamed honestly. I know it's just a fast food job, but I'm not one of those snobs who doesn't consider it a "real job." It very much is a real job in the sense that it requires everyone to have a good work ethic and cooperate for everything to go smoothly. It's not my dream job, but until I graduate I won't be working my dream job anyway, and I want to make the best of it while I'm in this position.

My dream job will require that I be able to handle criticism graciously and turn it into ways to help me, regardless of how tactfully it's given to me. I hate being corrected and criticized so much. It's like something in me just feels completely threatened. It's a very primal feeling, much like being a small child and being yelled at by the adults. I wish that I were better able to process criticism and not immediately feel like I need to go on the defensive. I need to learn to stop, take a breath, and think before I react to anything critical said about me. I want to maintain assertiveness, but only in a positive way. I don't want to be remembered as the grumpy and ill-tempered person who can't take the heat, whether I'm behind a fast food counter or doing research and teaching at a university.

Does anyone have any tips that have worked for you? I think the only thing I'll be able to do is to be hyper-aware of myself at all times. This is extremely hard for me to do because I'm so socially clumsy on top of having a lot of pride (and I hate the ego bruising). D'oh.
somegirl12345678 somegirl12345678
1 Response Jul 29, 2010

Good for you .. you sound like you are way , way ahead of the pack! and have a good head on your shoulders in many ways by mentioning all the things you did. i wish i had some advice, but unfortunately i'm in the same dilemma...and sounds like i'm much older than you!. (i think you said you were still in college/university.) whatever the case, you are correct in that how we choose to respond , even if someone is being tactless with us and even if they are WRONG and speaking untruths about us !!.. the best thing to do is to remain calm, cool, and collected. when we blow, it only makes us look guilty! well, good luck .. i sure need it too. my past has made me defensive, but its something i am working hard at correcting.