Interestingly enough, I came across this image not too long ago, so how fitting that today’s word prompt is Argument. I saved it because it really does encapsulate the difference between arguing and discussing matters. While I’m pretty sure that we can all think of instances wherein we did the first of the two mentioned above, I also believe that most of us realize that the second one is a far more productive approach.
How many times have you found yourself in an argument, only to wonder how you got there or more importantly, why you got there? And, I would venture to say that there have probably been times during a heated exchange when you have forgotten what point you were even arguing because it became ‘lost in the moment’. That’s most likely when the scale was tipped in favour of fighting to be right vs. fighting to find an equitable or fair resolution. You see, there’s this little thing inside all of us referred to as our ego, and sometimes it just seems to take over. I know that I have certainly found myself in the ‘all about me’ zone before, especially when it’s regarding something that I am passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, egos serve an important role in our human nature, but they can definitely work against us if we let them. Have you ever been in a ‘discussion’ when it’s your turn to listen and instead of hearing what the other person has to say, what you are really doing is formulating your next argument or point, instead of truly listening? (Though you can’t see through the screen, my hand is up for this one as I am definitely guilty of doing this, though I really try to be aware of when I am doing it, so that I can stop, get out of my own head and refocus.) The problem with not really listening is that validation on each party’s side is a huge part of not only reaching a favourable conclusion, but also in effective communication overall. Listening to our partners and validating their opinions is a critical piece that can get overlooked in place of our ‘need to be right’, and it usually doesn’t go over well when we choose the latter.
In my past relationship, my biggest issue was that I never felt validated and because of that, our communication eventually dwindled down to nothing. Nada. Hmmm…a tinsy bit of a problem and a little hard to continue on when no one is speaking to each other, let alone listening. To be clear, it’s not that I was looking to be right or for him to adopt my point of view, I just wanted to be heard and to know that my voice mattered. Because, AND THIS IS KEY, feeling heard means that my significant other values what I have to say, thereby valuing me as a person–an important part of a relationship, wouldn’t you say?
So, the next time you find yourself in the heat of the moment or wondering how/why you are arguing (again!), ask yourself, ‘Is my need to be right more important than truly listening to my partner and being heard in return?’. Chances are when you remind yourself that the ‘being heard’ bit will be reciprocated in a healthy relationship, you will kindly escort your ego to the door; a little kick to the curb might even be in order should your self-importance persist. Don’t worry though, because I guarantee that your ego will most likely come knocking on your door again. It always does, doesn’t it? The good news is that YOU will get to choose when and/or if YOU will let it back in–and that is a far better, even easier struggle than the one you would have with your loved one. At least, I think so:-).
On topic somewhat, I also came across this little gem for the ladies…sorry gentlemen, I couldn’t find an image for you equal to the message here, but it might prove helpful just the same. Cheers!