Discover Your Inner Power to THRIVE! (tm)
YOU have the power to TRANSFORM your life...
regardless of your current circumstances.
ARGUMENTS: A LOSING GAME
Have you ever noticed, even when you win an argument, it doesn't leave you feeling fulfilled for very long? Have you ever discovered that arguments rarely resolve problems? But they sure do take a lot of energy and certainly can drain vitality and satisfaction in a relationship!
THE RIGHT/WRONG PARADIGM
In an argument, people take various positions which usually oppose each other, and individuals or groups involved in the argument tend to think they are more “right” than the others. Generally, arguments arise when people are not willing to consider other people's different positions as being “valid.” We refer to this type of invalidating of others’ opinions as the “right/wrong” paradigm. A paradigm is a realm, or a state of being, and when you in the “right/wrong” state, the only possible outcomes are being proven right, proven wrong, or avoiding being proven wrong.
Problems are best resolved when people are willing to work together in a creative capacity, towards a workable solution for all. Creativity is only possible when people are not stuck trying to avoid being proven wrong or participating in escalating patterns of polarization. Arguments do not solve problems. PERIOD. Arguments serve as a distraction from whatever the original problem is, because people get caught up in being right or wrong, and rarely get back to the original disagrrement. Only when one or more parties involved in the argument can remove themselves from the “right/wrong” paradigm and allow creativity to come forth, conflict resolution is possible. So, solutions that work for everyone can only be discovered when the “right/wrong” paradigm is transcended. If this is not possible at the time when the argument is occurring, then the discussion should be “tabled,” or put off, until the parties involved are less emotional and can agree to listen to each other’s points of view and search for a solution that fits everyone. Here is a really important rule to remember when you are attempting conflict resolution. Post it in the areas of your home where the arguing tends to occur. Remind yourself of it often.
TAKING A STAND
Once removed, what do we put in place of the “right/wrong” paradigm? We have to replace it with something more empowering for all parties involved. We must take a stand that the caring we have for the other people in our lives is more important than the cheap payoff of the “win” we think might be possible. We must be willing to reach for something more fulfilling than the predictable mediocrity of proving ourselves right. And we need to have the courage to be the one willing to make this change, even in the face of those who desperately want to prove us wrong!
IT TAKES ONE NOT TO “TANGO”
Contrary to what you might think, it can take just one committed person, rising above the right/wrong paradigm, to depolarize and end an argument. No matter how much someone else wants to “win,” if you are not willing to fight because you refuse to enter into the world of right and wrong, you will not be lured into participating in an argument.
But remember, you cannot rise above this paradigm and avoid an argument by thinking that the person who is attempting to argue with you is wrong for trying to argue with you! If you do, you are back in that right/wrong world again. This is tricky; It’s a bit of a paradox, actually. No amount of wanting an argument to stop will actually make it stop, if you are just silently judging the other person as wrong. You are still in the middle of the very same paradigm that had you stuck in the argument before, and you will likely be pulled back into another one!
CREATING A CONTEXT OF CARING
When we take a stand that the caring we feel is more important than the “win,” we can rise above the temptation to jump into the argument. We avoid having an argument by refusing to have one – not because the other person is “wrong” – but because we care enough about the person that we refuse to waste energy and time in an activity that will not move us forward together. We take a stand that we will no longer participate in any endeavor that tears down someone we care about, including ourselves. When one person wants to fight but can’t find a willing sparring partner, they will be left only to face themselves. The argument will disintegrate, or they will find another sparring partner. Either way, we are no longer engaging in the losing game of arguing.
Listed below are “argument stopper” responses which, when used in a caring context rather than a right/wrong context, can be very powerful for allowing us to practice what is commonly referred to as “loving detachment.” This is the practice that allows us to create transformed relationships based on mutual respect and admiration, love and friendship, forgiveness and reconciliation, trust and honor, contribution, commitment and personal responsibility.
Refusing to participate in an argument takes practice. Your success will be measured by PROGRESS… NOT PERFECTION. It takes WILLINGNESS, and practice. When you are willing to give up the fight for the sake of the caring you feel for the other person… when you are more interested in having a passionate and loving connection with someone than blaming, shaming, accusing, condemning, criticizing, judging, and proving them wrong… THEN you are ready to practice these responses. Do not attempt them until this time, or they will not work. These are not techniques meant to magically alter your communication. The extent to which you successfully experience transcendence from arguments will be determined by your willingness to give up your need to be right.
You may need to repeat some or many of these over and over again in a given interaction until the other party realizes you are not willing to participate in the argument. If they refuse to stop, or continue to escalate the argument, you always have the right to leave the room or building.
SUGGESTED ARGUMENT STOPPERS:
Remember the most important rule:
NEVER ATTEMPT TO SOLVE A PROBLEM WHEN YOU OR SOMEONE INVOLVED IS UPSET.
(CALM DOWN FIRST.)