Knowing the elements of an affirmative defense and having the ability to properly assert that defense takes you a long way to managing your case strategically. As a pro se litigant, it also helps you gain much respect (but not much love) from your opponent.
A party seeking equity must come to court with “clean hands”. Makes sense, right? You go to court seeking justice for a wrong someone’s done to you. But when you’ve done something foul yourself, don’t ask a court to help you gain from it.
Analyze your case to create an effective litigation strategy. It’s a process of finding the elements of each claim and defense, and testing them against available facts and evidence. Bonus: It’s not rocket science.