Everywhere we turn these days, people are fighting. From minor disagreements online to full blow separations, cutting others out of our lives because we don’t see eye to eye.
There are definitely times when this is warranted. When we are repeatedly disrespected, disregarded and walked on like a doormat. When it is a matter of neglect, abuse or being taken advantage of, we know that parting ways is what’s needed for our mental health and peace of mind. Sometimes ties need to be cut and bridges burned to break toxic cycles and move on.
But what about the petty things, a matter as simple as household chores between two or more people that morph into arguments and erupt in anger?
When this happens, the precious moments that could be filled with joy end up ruined.
When people fight to be right rather than work to resolve, it results in frustration and exhaustion.
When people are stubborn and bitter, no one wins and we all lose.
Why does this happen? Why can’t we all just get along and live in peace and harmony?
It’s because so often, we all want to be right. We think our idea is the best idea and we want everyone around us to do as we would do.
Because we know everything, right? Because there is only one way to get something done, right?
So not right.
It takes a lot of patience, understanding and self-awareness to work well with others. When we seek to listen, learn and contribute rather than dictate or takeover, we stand a better chance in uniting to get a job – any job – done.
We blame others and say they’re the problem when in actuality, most of the problem lies within ourselves. We can feel the need to control others when we are not in control of ourselves.
So how do we change this?
When you’re growing frustrated and ready to lash out over something minor, ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you looking to solve a problem or needing to be right? If you find yourself being drawn into a petty argument, take a deep breath, count to ten and remember that quite often, that which is understood need not be spoken.
If you are becoming impatient and angry, ask yourself why. What is pushing your buttons? Is the person being stubborn? Can you ask your question or make your recommendation in a different way in an attempt to resolve the issue vs. inflame it? How important will this be five minutes from now? When we know ourselves, we can control our actions rather than trying to control others.
Pick and choose your battles. There are times when we need to discuss and debate things respectfully and patiently and there are times when it just may not be worth it. This is when the serenity prayer comes in handy – having the courage to change the things you can, accept the things you can’t and the wisdom to know the difference.