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Running With Scissors

9 Oct

Everyone tries to make good decisions and do things that will bring them happiness and success. We work hard at what we want to accomplish and try to learn as we go. But sometimes we get a little sidetracked and do things that work against us. We might say something spiteful back to someone who has hurt our feelings, or take revenge on someone because of something they did to us. These responses do nothing positive for us, but at times it feels like they give us some satisfaction. Unfortunately, they don’t ever work in our favor and do nothing to move us forward. Instead of resolving a situation, if we do things like these oftentimes we end up escalating it. It’s like running with scissors. We might get to a destination faster but the risk of making things worse is real and present.

If we’ve been hurt and are angry, returning pain for pain is always an option. We can hit back, return nasty barbs, or do something else to even the score. Unfortunately if we take this route, often instead we just up the ante. And then we have to even the score again. If things continue to escalate, the situation can get out of hand and we lose control of the objective. In every conflict we have a choice. We can try to diminish it or we can make it worse. Making it worse is never in our best interest. If we make that our pattern, we may spend a lot of time wrestling with issues instead of solving them. But it’s not fair for us to be treated badly, and sometimes we feel like we have to do something to make things right. But making things right is rarely achieved when a contest of wills gets intense.

The only way to handle a situation when we’ve been hurt, or maligned, is to be in control. The best way to gain control is to return better behavior for the insult. If someone says we’re an idiot, we don’t have to agree, but we could quietly and politely say something to diffuse the situation. If we aren’t attacking in our response, the other party has nothing to rebut. It takes two to argue and if we lower the tension, the argument has a better chance of becoming a conversation. If someone says something that deeply hurts or ridicules us, we could simply thank them for their opinion and say nothing more. Many times when others attack us personally they expect a fight. They have volleyed the first serve over the net and are in control. We can take that control away from them by managing what happens next. It isn’t easy but we are capable of deflating the conflict by being polite, and calm. Most people who like to fight like to pick on others who will take the bait. We can determine not to take it. We can decide to take control instead. And if we do, we win.

Today if someone is baiting you into an argument, if you’ve been insulted or demeaned, you don’t have to enter the fight. You can take control of the situation be being calm and polite. No matter what happens you can return your best behavior. You can be better, and you can silence the conflict. You are strong and capable of making excellent choices. Today make the choice that puts you on top. That’s the best place to be, and is exactly where you belong.

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