I have been reflecting for a day or two on a comment someone made recently - that I think just a little too much.
People say I take things (sarcasm, criticism) too much to heart because I tend to dwell on it. Interesting, really, because I always thought that the fact that I dwell on things and try not to react immediately is a strength... I tend to think things through before giving a definitive answer. If you ask me for a quick answer, you will usually get one - but I guarantee that it won't necessarily be the best answer! No, I tend to stall for time... time to think. It's how I operate best.
However, on deeper reflection this is not the image I am portraying. You see, people seem to take note of the first thing that I say; the 'knee-jerk' reaction that they get. My usual standby answer is more often than not an apology. Sorry that I can't do that for you. Sorry that you are upset about that. Sorry this; Sorry that. You may even be sorry for saying sorry!
Why? I even end up throwing out apologies in situations where it's later revealed that I'm actually in the right! Is this learned behaviour from deep within, telling me to apologise? If so, I guess that sort of instant reaction isn't serving me too well any more...
Folks that are cleverer than I tell me that it's all to do with the plasticity in the brain - how the brain fires. Negative thinking embedded from a couple of particularly nasty experiences in earlier life may be triggering self-deprecating thoughts in me. Telling me "I'm a failure." The fallback position is one of self-defence. Yes, even when I'm in the right!
If this is true, I need to unlearn this. Or, at least, I need to answer differently. Break the habit of the 'knee-jerk' reaction. I've already started to see things as they truly are, not as I have previously perceived them to be. Or, even, how others tell me they should be.
I'm told you can interrupt and (over time) alter these sort of behaviour. I'm looking at this right now. And I believe that, with my Lord's help, I will ultimately become free of it.
Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.