When you have a fight with your boss or colleague, or friend or spouse, do you play the game of right and wrong? I am right and you are wrong? How do you define what is right and wrong? Can you call a bottle which is half full, right? Does this mean that the bottle which is half empty, wrong? You will say that it’s just a perspective – optimistic and pessimistic; there is no right and wrong about it. Sure enough, that is the perfect answer. But we still carry a view of right and wrong in spite of this understanding, right? This is how we have been raised on this value system by our parents, environment, and society. I did too, until I learnt to define it differently.
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In my experience, all views of life that fall under your reality which is agreeable to you, becomes right. That which you don’t agree to, becomes wrong. Do you agree? My intention is to give you some direction which will help you handle these everyday conflict issues and challenges better.
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The next time you have an argument with someone, don’t make others wrong and yourself right, or vice versa. Accept it as their point of view. After all, it’s only a point of view. If you don’t agree with this, feel free to stand up for your views and say it very simply and calmly that you don’t agree with their point of view/opinion. If you feel comfortable to share your view, share it. If the other person is your boss or is a very opinionated friend, and you feel the dilemma of “to say or not to say,” I would suggest that you pick up the courage to say that with all due respect to the person, you do not conform to their views. It shows you as a person of strength and integrity.
But don’t make the mistake of keeping quiet, of keeping your opinions to yourself. You may want to avoid a conflict, but the message that you are sending across about yourself to others is that – you don’t have a view. When you don’t have a view, it translates as… you can’t think for yourself. By keeping your silence, you give the impression of being timid, docile, and submissive, of not standing up for yourself, for your individual opinion. You lose your standing among the group and you will not be consulted when there is a problem in the future. Some may even consider you a fair weather friend. Surprised? Don’t be. After all, you didn’t share your view. Others read it as – trying to be on the winning side by being quiet.
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Very few will get the picture that you are being non-judgmental or neutral. That you keep your silence for keeping the peace, to avoid conflict. Some refuse to accept that there will be many other perspectives too. During an argument, you inevitably end up being judgmental. Hence, you judge everything that passes your way, the weather, the next door neighbor, a scene from a movie you watched recently. Being judgmental is very important, you see… You need to come out with this feeling of self-worth. You do this by trying to get the last word in the argument, just to justify to yourself that you matter. That your opinions matter. If you get the last word in, then you come away feeling victorious. You won; the other person lost. That is a false sense of self-worth. And when someone else judges you in a similar way, you don’t like it and you declare them WRONG. By the way, aren’t we back to square one??
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What do you do now? First of all, accept the fact that such repetitions will happen. It’s just a question of becoming aware and conscious of it every time it happens and take action. Distance yourself from the argument, like watching a dialogue in a movie. We can see it for what it is – just a dialogue between two people. And be the observer. Don’t attach any meaning to it or add any explanations. Believe that it is not targeting you. Can you detach yourself from this situation without any anger and hurt?
Easier said than done? Yes, I know. The first few times are difficult, but as you ease into this new role, it becomes just that… a role to play without getting subjective about it. That is the first step to deal with any situation without wanting to win, have the last word, or feel victorious. This does not mean you don’t care or become indifferent. You do care; it’s just that you have learnt to handle yourself and the situation better.
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