Handling Arguments

“Anger is the hot wind that extinguishes the light of reason.” unknown

Upset and disagreement can color your day a painful shade of uncomfortable. You know, the kind of argument where you can’t seem to reach a middle ground. When we react strongly, it is important to give ourselves the opportunity to understand the deeper roots of our feelings.

Give yourself the gift of time and use your time to:

Pause and Regroup

This does not mean the issue is dropped and left unresolved. Take the necessary time to move beyond the intensity of the moment and look at what lurks below the surface of the situation and the emotion.

Remove Yourself

Allow yourself to move away from the situation. A “time out” can be a chance to gather your thoughts and explore your feelings. Remove yourself with the intention of revisiting the issue when you are calmer.

Seek Guidance

If you are unclear how to proceed, talk to someone in order to gain more clarity.
A neutral perspective can yield great results. We can not always see our own nature or behavior as clearly as others who know us. Get some input from someone you trust

Explore Further

Once removed and calmer, you can examine the situation in a more level headed manner. Keep in mind, arguments have two or more positions. Although it can be a challenge, try to put yourself in the other person’s place and imagine how the other person feels. Much strength and a large does of empathy may be required.

Ask Yourself a Few Questions

Search your motives and get honest with yourself. “Do I go to extremes?” “Can I let them have their opinion?” and “Am I really listening?” are key questions worth exploring.

Consider This

Ask yourself, “From my perspective what are we really arguing about?”
Try to really look into why you feel upset. Delve below the surface to see if you can uncover the more hidden aspects or the root cause.

Examine, “Is it possible to let them have their opinion without compromising my own?”
Look for whether a middle path exists which honors both of you. Seek the suggestions of others if you are unable to recognize one.

Try to establish, “Whose problem is it?”
It isn’t necessary to try to solve it for them if it is not really your problem. We can fall into the trap of believing we are responsible for the other person’s happiness. Trying to ‘fix’ someone or some circumstance may only make matters worse.

Determine, “Does the situation actually have a solution?”
Not all situations have solutions. Sometimes the best way to bring harmony back to your relationship occurs when you can agree to disagree. No one loses when this position is taken.

Ponder, “In an ideal world, how would I solve this?”
Even if you can’t see yourself implementing the ideal solution, you can imagine the argument is solved in the best possible manner. Explore what steps you might take to negotiate a mutually agreeable solution. Reach for the highest and best you know at the time.

Think carefully about, “What can I do?”
Perhaps an apology is in order. Maybe not. Always consider whether it’s better to be right or to be happy. Attempt to do the right thing as you know it at the time.

Decide, “Is this a deal-breaker?”
Recognize what initially seems like an irreconcilable difference may be surmountable at a later time. Don’t assume the worst. Time is a great healer.

Ask yourself, “What are we really arguing about?”
Look below the surface. Often what people argue about is only a cover for something which goes beyond the particulars of the argument. Find out more about what the deeper issue might be and how to work through that.

Remember, more often than not, your needs can be met without damaging the relationship. Arguments can be the gateway to more authentic and deeper relationships with others if you ‘clean up your side of the street’. With time and effort relationships worth salvaging can work through conflict.

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