Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's Possible to Never Have Another Argument Again!

It's a fact that you never have to have an argument with another person as long as you live!  I can prove the truth of this because I stopped having arguments with people.  If I can do it, anybody can.

What I'm not promising is that you will never be invited to have an argument.  You'll probably have plenty of invitations.  Not very many people give up arguing like I did, so other people are bound to invite you.  Not that I'm better than anybody else - I just learned that I could quit.  I think that the truth about arguments is not well known among humans.

The thing is, it takes two humans to make an argument.  If one person has decided to stop arguing, there will be no arguments.  Simple.  Very simple.  But...it's not an easy thing.  Those invitations are extremely difficult to decline.

So what is so incredibly attractive about arguments that swearing off is so very, very hard?  In my case, I argued in order to prove I was right (very important since being right was all I had to shore up my low self-esteem).  I also argued to defend myself whether I actually needed to defend myself or not.  I often perceived a threat from other people whether there was one or not.  I defended myself just in case.  The bottom line, though, was that I was trying to get my way about something.

The sad thing is that arguing never, never, ever, ever got me anything but a worse relationship with another person and a feeling in my body that I had been poisoned.  Once in a great while I got my way, but that was so very rare.  Even when I got my way, I didn't enjoy it because of the emotional hangover from being in an argument.

So I eventually got willing to investigate another way.  It turns out that it's tremendously more effective to just ask for what I want instead of fighting for it.  Asking in a friendly way and being willing to accept "no" for an answer, doesn't invite a fight and may encourage the other person to say "yes."  If someone else wants to pick a fight with me, I can do my best to understand what they're really saying to me and resist my impulse to fight back. 

In order to have the capability to resist my impulse to fight back, I have to live each day, with the help of a higher power, as best I can in accordance with my values.  When I make mistakes, I try to correct them.  Cleaning my side of the street keeps me from being so defensive when someone is wanting to fight with me.  This is a very hard, lifetime job.  I'm not great at it, but I have finally practiced enough that I at least remember to try every day. 

Usually when I'm invited to a fight, the other person is telling me that they've interpreted my actions as a threat whether I intended a threat or not.  Maybe their feelings are hurt because they think I meant to hurt them.  Maybe I said "no" when they had a lot of energy bound up in my saying "yes."  There are a ton of reasons why someone might want to fight me.  I often wish I could reassure them that I mean no harm, but that rarely works.  I can just remember what someone told me a long time ago - "You add just as much suffering to the world when you take offense as when you give offense." and refuse to take offense myself. 

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