THE #1 QUESTION
At Declutter Now!, we get asked a lot of questions. Tons. And we love them all! We hear from people in need of practical advice for cleaning out physical spaces to those working through difficult relationships. We’re asked about financial decisions, small business matters, and career choices alike. Guidance for healthy eating and exercise are popular topics for help, as are serious concerns about addictions and negative behavior patterns.
But the question we hear most, the one at the top of our list is this:
“Is your post about me?”
Yes, I’m completely serious. We get asked this ALL the time. It’s our #1 question in the history of ever! It can be worded in a variety of different ways, but the concern is the same. “Are you writing about me?” “Are you talking about me?” “Was your blog post about me?”
Occasionally, the person is flattered, feeling the mention was a compliment. More often than not, however, it’s the alleged not-so-attractive reference that sparks their ire, often evoking an extremely defensive posture. I’ve been ‘written off’ more than once, purely based on assumption. Or even misunderstanding.
It was a bit surprising at first, but the more I write, the more I share, the more I reach, the more it happens.
What is my first reaction each time this question is posed?
“Well, if the shoe fits….”
Okay, I might think that from time to time, but I haven’t actually spoken it. Yet.
I know, I know, I’m TERRRRRRRIBLE, but I can’t help it. That’s exactly what crosses my mind.
My logical, black and white brain wonders…
If you honestly see yourself in a situation, there’s no need to ask me for permission to own it.
If the shoe truly doesn’t fit, why are you worried that it does?
Unfortunately, feelings aren’t always rational and emotions are not always accurate.
WHY WOULDN’T I?
The entire premise of life coaching is to speak to what I have lived through, survived, and thrived beyond. If not for personal experiences, I would be void of relatability, credibility, and believability!
And from time to time, do I share stories that involve people in my life or those whose paths I’ve crossed?
Sure. Of course I do.
How could I leave out people? Interesting Interactions with them? Lessons learned from them? Concerns about them? Trying times with them? Special memories because of them?
‘They’ are all part of my story and are woven into the fabric of who I am, what I know, and what I believe to be important and true.
Of course I try to be sensitive. I never use names unless I have permission to do so and I construct broad storylines when an identity should be confidential. Sometimes an example is to support a point I’m making or share an example that’s pertinent to a discussion. Most of the time, however, it’s simply the topic I’m covering. No story has to be included for me to offend.
And in the midst of a broad storyline on a topic I’m passionate about with an unnamed character, you feel like you have a bullseye on your back.
MY question is why?
WHY ARE YOU DEFENSIVE?
Obviously, the people asking or thinking this question are family, friends, or acquaintances. A stranger certainly isn’t worried that I’m writing about them. If it hits home, they may squirm or feel a level of discomfort, but there’s no inclination to take it personally since I don’t even know them.
But the people I know? Oh man, they take a lot personally! It’s more than just disagreement. It’s often straight up defensiveness.
And I ponder why. Why are they defensive?
I’ve come up with a few thoughts:
- They’re consumed with guilt about something they’ve done or are doing and feel ‘called out’.
- They feel I am unfairly accusing or judging them.
- They are worried that all eyes are on them. That my entire readership base knows who they are and what they’re going through, and the topic I chose or story I shared is most assuredly referencing them. And everyone knows it.
But we all know how silly that is. And unrealistic.
I’m 49 years old. Years and years of situations, experiences, and people invade my heart and mind when I write. I’ve got a whole lot of living to write about. And there’s a bunch of people going through the same thing at any given time.
It’s sheer silliness to assume that every story I write about relationships, clutter, bad spending habits, helicopter parenting, addictions, weight loss, church life, etc. is about you.
That being said, however, I know exactly what it’s like to sit in Sunday Service and feel like the pastor is only looking at and speaking directly to me! I’ve been convicted in that manner many times before, so I can definitely empathize. But at the end of the day, it comes down to one thing.
What is the truth in the situation? It doesn’t matter if it’s your pastor speaking, your best friend, or a family member who happens to be a blogger, like me, it’s the truth that’s most important.
If you hear or read something that makes you wonder, “Are they referring to me?” take time to dissect your reaction.
Are you feeling convicted because truth is being spoken? Is it resonating down deep, in places that are uncomfortable to visit? Are you running from the truth because of the work involved in setting things straight? Do you despise feeling the curtain has been lifted and others may know your sin? Does the truth feel like judgment?
The bottom line is that if truth is being spoken, and it makes you squirm, you have work to do. Declutter anger and defensiveness and commit to addressing the difficult, awkward, or unsavory. Don’t hide behind denial or lies, rather, put your energy to work for your benefit.
If, after honest reflection, you know in your heart the truth being spoken doesn’t apply to you, then check it off your list. Declutter the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’. Free yourself from the bondage of worry and stress. Don’t wallow in a puddle of low self-esteem or allow yourself to be swayed by conspiracy theories or paranoia. That’s Satan’s playground. Don’t allow him a foothold! Perhaps the post written had absolutely nothing to do with you? Heck, maybe it was just a hypothetical example. Who knows? But with all the self-confidence and self-respect you can muster, believe in who you are and what you bring to the table.
And if you simply disagree, tell me! Just because I feel it and write it, doesn’t mean I am always right. Not by a long shot. Let’s have a discussion and converse through the topic. In most cases, we will both walk away with our horizons broadened. I’m ALL for that!
When I write, I write to help. Plain and simple.
Sometimes I’m trying to help you, and sometimes the help, selfishly, is all for me. It may be a problem I’ve been battling, a dilemma I’m having a difficult time resolving, a heartbreak I need to share, or perhaps, even a victory I’ve experienced with a lesson worth sharing.
I write for lots of reasons. I write to soothe my own soul. I write to minister. I write to bring Glory to God’s Kingdom.
The motivation behind the words is pure and well-meaning. I am only a servant. If you feel convicted, it is out love and God’s desire to burden your heart with truth He wants you to hear. Take it in the manner and spirit in which it is intended. For your benefit and His glory, always and forever.