This post originally appeared here on Illumination.
Can We Please Stop Arguing And Settle This Peacefully?
I've never come across anyone who confesses they like arguments. Some would admit they’ve arrived at the satisfaction of winning an argument, but no one really enjoys it, no matter what we’re arguing about. It’s never fun.
I see conflict and arguments as negative, something I want to avoid. I hate arguments and I’m not proud of it when it happens, yet sometimes I just can’t help myself.
Do I have to argue to get my point across?
When I had gotten into an argument with someone in the past, it’s for two purposes — to get them to see my point of view so they would change or to persuade them to accept mine. That’s it.
Unless we are highly conscious of our feelings and thought processes during an argument, our brain automatically defers to our animalistic past, where fighting is a survival instinct. Our thoughts and emotions that have survival values will produce behaviors that increase our chances of survival.
This means every time I get into an argument with someone, my emotions signal an imminent threat which then initiates an urgent action in response. My goal is to win, I intend to be right. I want to dominate. My brain may translate that as me wanting to get the message across and I wanted the other party to understand what I’m feeling at the moment so that he ‘gets’ it.
Staying present amid tough situations is crucial. Arguing with emotions blinds us to the truth.
However, during the process, I get disoriented, angry, and upset. I wanted to bite their head off. During a heated debate, I highlight what I believe to be wrong about them. I do this because my personal biases overlook the fact that they are not me. Just like I have my own sets of beliefs and convictions, I must respect the fact that others have theirs too.
When I forced my opinion on others and faced resistance or rejection, it burst out into an argument. Unconsciously, the motive gets skewed and now, I fight to win because my ego takes over. I thought I wanted the other person to ‘get it’ but the fact is, he won’t.
In a fit of pique, we’re unconscious of our mental and emotional processes. The minute that occurs, static charges buildup across the fighting ring. There is growling, roaring, and blaming taking place. Our brains are hooked on being right. Winning is the goal. We want the opponent to experience the pain we felt. Our voice gets louder, and we felt ourselves losing ground.
Wait! Stop! We’re not going down that path.
After a few recollections of such episodes, it dawned on me that staying present amid tough situations is crucial. Arguing with emotions blinds us to the truth. Of course, your feelings are your feelings and no one can tell you otherwise. The bottom line is when we argue with someone, it’s really about what’s going on inside of us.
The real question should be why I’m trying to impose my values on others?
On many occasions, the arguments I’m involved in do not yield effective results. I ended up wanting to defeat the other person to win the battle, and yes, that may even happen. But when it’s over and done, I walked away feeling more hurt inside, which is the exact opposite of the outcome I wanted to achieve. The after-effect is internal.
That’s why I treasure the saying, the world is our mirror. It reflects to us what we fail or refuse to see inside ourselves. I hurt others only because I’m feeling hurt inside.
Forcing my opinions upon others can lead to arguments and damaged relationships, and over an extended period, it can lead to an unpleasant state of conflict between two people.
What others do is really not my problem, and I respect the fact that not everyone would agree with me, and that’s fine. No offense is taken. I have learned to let people be themselves and choose to do the inner work instead. When I have peace within, that’s going to come out of me no matter what’s happening.
The real question should be why I’m trying to impose my values on others. It doesn’t seem to do much good. The more I impose the more disjointed and broken our bonds become.
Instead of forcing them into my mold, I could have tried to understand their view of the world, because everyone has their version of the truth. We are all separate, unique individuals. It’s only when I’m willing to accept them for who they are, it opens the door for them to want to consider what I have to say. This, of course, does not happen all the time and I must be okay with that.
The version of the truth we choose to accept is just an illusion because we want it to be so. We arrive at the conclusion based on our level of growth. We can only see from where we are, but as we evolve and expand, we could see a bigger picture.
That doesn’t mean we have arrived, which indicates the end, it just means in our own capacity, we are growing. And we should be very proud of our journey.
Never mind what others are seeing or what they are experiencing. Those who are on the same path will understand you, while those who don’t, love them and leave them alone.
Could there be a possibility that perhaps I need to grow to see better, rather than thinking that others are not there yet? Can I give myself the benefit of doubt?
Seriously, can I be right all the time?
I don’t enjoy interacting with people who don’t bother listening to my values, instead constantly snap and tell me what I need. It makes me feel like they don’t understand me or care to. They’re trying to overrule my independence and assume control. I don’t like it when they pushed me around, and that goes for everyone too.
Do we really need to argue?
The attempt to change someone’s mind or behavior is not an effective strategy. Look, I’m a completely distinct person than you are. Just because you want something does not mean it would be the right choice for me. The more you pushed me, the further I’ll drift away, and that’s no way to influence my decisions.
Other people shouldn’t need to adopt my values. They certainly don’t have to act in a certain way for me to feel satisfied. Doing so accomplishes nothing meaningful as it only promotes an awkward, pressured feeling. Is this really what we’re out to achieve?
It’s far better to cultivate the art of listening to people’s wants and desires than imposing my own. Once I can connect on a level, that’s comfortable and mutual on both sides, it’s easier to recommend suggestions.
So, back to the question. Do we really need to fight and argue to get a point across? Well, not for me. Then again, it’s only me. What do I know what’s good for you?