Have you ever noticed that in general, we British are pretty bad at either taking a compliment or at fending off sniping remarks by negative people? We do what the Winning Edge calls the ‘justification dance.’ It’s a funny concept really when you think about it, this notion that for some reason it’s necessary for us to justify our success or good points as well as to feel the need to justify our actions and choices, should someone disagree with them or maybe have nothing better to do than make a throwaway negative comment.
There are two types of justification dance; firstly, to avoid the “embarrassment” of success and the feeling your good fortune somehow disadvantages others, we often counter generous remarks from positive people who are recognising and genuinely praising our achievements by answering in a self-deprecating manner. Whilst this is very humble and noble, your self-esteem deserves for you to accept praise and you should be positive to ensure a strong sense of self-worth. There is no reason not to accept people’s kind and positive comments but here are a few examples of how we don’t accept them graciously:
“Your new kitchen is gorgeous!”………. “Well, we were lucky enough to be able to make a few sacrifices and save hard to get it,” or “So, you’re off to the Seychelles next year. That’s fantastic!”……… “It’s really only because it’s a big anniversary year. It’s a bit of an extravagance but we thought we’d treat ourselves.”
The best way to avoid the justification dance in these examples is to reply with an enthusiastic, “Thank you, I’m / we’re thrilled to bits!” This response underpins your self-esteem and properly rewards the other person for their generous recognition.
The second reason for the verbal fancy footwork of the justification dance is to fend-off the sniping remarks of negative people who actually enjoy watching you justify yourself. However, the more you do the justification dance the more these mean-spirited people will bait you. For example:
“A new car already?! Surely you haven’t had the last one long…” “Your new car must be very heavy on petrol!” “Well, yes but it was a good deal. I can get over 35 mpg and it is very comfortable on a journey,” or “The depreciation will hit you.” “Yes, but when you spread it over three years and take the lower insurance into account, it’s not too bad.”
This sort of justification dance is pointless because your scrabbling explanations and the excitement of the chase will only motivate the other person to search for more chinks in your self-esteem armour. I find the best strategy against snipers is the dignity of enthusiastic, smiling agreement and quite frankly, having a bit of fun…: “A new car already?! It must be very heavy on petrol!” “Yes, extravagant isn’t it?! The fuel consumption is ridiculous!” or “The depreciation will hit you…” “Yes. Probably!” Oh, how I smile to myself as they flounder in surprise at your response. Admittedly, this approach can be difficult to adopt to begin with. As someone who isn’t confrontational and who wouldn’t make such sniping remarks, I used to be taken by surprise when someone would say such negative and detrimental things however, at some point, self-preservation needs to kick in in order that you no longer batter your self-esteem. I now enjoy the exchange knowing that I am in no way justifying my choices – there’s no need to explain myself.
When we choose to take to the floor with our justification dance, we are actually justifying to ourselves. If we are happy with the choices and decisions we make in life, we need the permission of no-one else – especially that of the sniper!
“It’s more fun to arrive at a conclusion that to justify it.” Malcolm Forbes
By Kirsty Perrin
About the Author: Having been immersed in the Winning Edge principles from an early age, Kirsty’s philosophy is to be the best you can be and to enjoy what you do in life.
Kirsty knows that personal development is a continuous journey and therefore has a genuine desire and enthusiasm to help people realise their full potential, to be a success in their life-whatever that may mean to them.
Kirsty’s thought-provoking blogs, prompt readers to think consciously about how their thinking has a huge impact on their life, it informs their emotions and therefore their behaviour. Living life consciously is the cornerstone to the themes of Kirsty’s blogs. You can contact Kirsty directly here