The winner of a war often loses just as many battles as s/he wins but with luck and preparation, at some point the tide turns or the opponent’s will is broken. If you want to win a war, prepare to suffer plenty of losses.
Do you ever enter battle and end up feeling bad even if you ‘win’? Winning and being ‘right’ does not ensure that things will end well. In fact, if your sense of victory is dependent on another person’s defeat, the victory can be mighty hollow. Being ‘right’ is over-rated. When people argue, what are they really doing? They are defending themselves. In an argument, each person is trying to change the other and who is really the only one we can change? We all know the answer: ourselves…..
Although most of us know better, we do give it a damn good try to change others because we are convinced that if they saw it our way, things would be better. All too often well meaning souls think they know what is best for others and want to tweak someone else’s mind or convince them why they need to change.
But all that is is aggressive behaviour. Aggressive behaviour is characterised by ‘You’ statements and focuses on how the other person ‘should be’ (in someone else’s opinion). Many times, aggressive communication is designed to ‘get back’ at someone else or control how they behave or think. Many people think that aggression is reasonable if the end justifies the means but really anything short of physical danger does not merit aggression because, by definition, the behaviour is authoritarian and judgmental.
Not everything in life has to be a battle – though sometimes it may seem like it! – and don’t think that losing a battle means losing the entire war. Using authoritative, assertive communication – counteracting the ‘You’ with ‘I’ statements – expresses personal feelings without trying to change the way someone else sees things…. And sometimes ignoring the arguing irritant is even more powerful!
The important thing is – Keep Your Cool. If somebody calls you an idiot, that’s personal. But if someone says that your idea is ridiculous, that’s business. Act appropriately when your ideas are criticised or shot down and when you talk (whether literally or online) about other people, be professional. Criticising a person’s idea and criticising a person are two events that I like to call ‘mutually exclusive’. Consider them separately and deal with them effectively.
[Once again, now to potter off and take my own advice…..!]