It is not uncommon for us, as humans, to lose our temper from time to time. During an argument, we know we are right and the other person is wrong. But how many times have you found yourself going over the argument in your mind afterward and realizing the other person may have been right? Or perhaps simply realizing it isn’t about who is right, it’s about the way you handled the situation?
Of The Moment and The Ego
In times of heightened emotions such as this, we have a tendency to let ourselves get overwhelmed by our ego and speak without thinking. It can be hard to slow down and take everything in during the moment. I’ve read plenty of books, articles and blog posts that share better ways to communicate. For example: holding hands and taking turns speaking. While this seems logical and we know it would help, we still don’t take the time out to practice it.
Well, maybe some of us do, but I’m not sure I’ve met a couple who does yet.
Communication is a means of conveying a message. It requires not only speaking (sending the message) but also listening (receiving the message). Most communication barriers have to do with someone (or both parties) wanting to speak their piece but neglecting the fact that they also need to listen. Actively listening forces you to take in the other person’s perspective. If you do this, the chance of your conversation turning into an argument is lessened, because you take yourself away from your ego and into their shoes. There is no right or wrong person. There is only differing perspectives. Once you fully understand this, it will make your conversations flow more smoothly. (Of course, it helps if the other person knows and understands it too.)
Facing The Mirror
Another thing that needs to be understood is our ability to point the finger at another person for something that is actually within ourselves. If you don’t believe me, pay attention the next time you get mad at someone. It isn’t always there, but more times than not it will have a mirrored reflection of yourself. Let me give a few examples.
- You get angry with someone for bringing up a tough subject. (It bothers you because you have neglected the subject altogether and are trying to ignore it.)
- You make rude comments to your partner about the junk food they’re eating. (You’ve recently gone on a diet and aren’t eating junk but find yourself having the urge to do so.)
- You tell a friend their decision to quit the day job and pursue their dreams is unrealistic and childish. (You are envious of their courage and wish you could do the same.)
Now, these might not sound like you. Everyone has different scenarios. But I’m willing to bet you’ll find situations like these in your own life if you just open your eyes to find them. I know I didn’t fully believe it until I started paying attention to the things in my life that irritated me. It really is an eye opener.
I’ve noticed this sort of thing happens more often to the people who don’t look within themselves to bring about change. If you already know and accept things about yourself, you are less inclined to blame others for your personal demons. But sometimes there are personal demons we don’t even know about yet. The best way to handle this is to find them, face them, and acknowledge they are a part of who we are.
Try paying attention to what annoys you or brings about anger or sadness. Then ask yourself if it has anything to do with you instead of the outside world. I think you’ll be surprised.
Stepping Outside of Yourself
I pride myself on being able to put myself in the position of others, understanding why they do the things they do and how their life might seem to them. However, I am also one to lose my cool in the moment pretty easily. It is only after the meltdown that I re-evaluate what happened and go back to the person with a new approach. Do I think this is a decent way of handling things? Well, I wish I wouldn’t lose my cool at all, but I am thankful I have enough respect for others to go back to them and apologize while trying to fix the problem.
No one ever said life was easy. We are all learning as we go. No amount of reading or listening or watching can teach us everything we need to know, especially when it comes to daily interactions. It can’t fix us. Only we have the power to do that.
I suppose the point of this post is to help you get a fresh view of how you communicate with others. We aren’t given an infinite amount of time on this journey. We need to make it count. Are you listening to the people around you? Are you making sure to keep peace with the ones you love? Your loved ones are your most prized possession in this lifetime and perhaps many thereafter (who knows where we’re going after this anyway?!) Be sure to love them thoroughly.
Be nice. Be happy. Be peaceful.
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