A good friend shared this thought today. She was in a meeting recently with her employer and the organization's new board chair. The chairperson challenged them to work hard to view every single attack as a request. I thought about this idea for hours.
The challenge to deal with, ward off, and dodge attacks is part of the fabric of our lives. Surviving attacks becomes the primary function of so many people's lives. This leader was saying " Don't dodge. Do not merely deal with. Don't survive. Solve."
Find the request in the attack and answer it. What are they seeking? understanding? information? permission? grace? When someone attacks you view it as a request and reach out to them. Choosing to react to an attack as a request allows you to respond with diffusing kindness. When you receive an attack and choose to respond with anger, grumpiness, and pain, there are then two grumpy people living a negative experience. When you choose to seek the request in the attack and respond to it. You turn that experience for the positive.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
There is one more aspect to this. That is the first word. This is not a sometimes practice. Treat Every single attack this way. Not some of them. ALL of them, big or small. When you make a practice of looking for and answering the request in each complaint, you retain control. You choose not to be reactive. You choose to be proactive.
In my mind there is an element of this that speaks to the golden rule. I want to be treated with understanding. I want people to hear my requests. So this whole exercise isn't new. God invented it. Listen to others. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Quit defending and shift the focus off of you and onto them.
Where is your focus?