Thursday, April 7, 2016
File #1 Arguing
For me, there is nothing more peaceful than a shelf full of books. I love the smell of an old library with books stuffed with ancient information. What is the opposite of peace?
Strife, which can be classified in categories such as anger, trouble and arguing.
Arguing is a fairly common occurrence at our home. It's not that we don't like each other, we all have extremely strong relationships. But with so many people in one family there are many different opinions and tempers are near snapping many times throughout the week.
I admit that I have a quick temper that, *ahem*, doesn't really show too much. But there are times when it gets the better of me and flashes up. I start saying things I wouldn't and making rash decisions. If you've ever had an argument you know what I'm talking about.
What is at the heart of every argument? Why do we begin doing things we never would when our temper was normal?
In order to understand we need to organize the 3 stages of talking.
Conversation: This is the kind of talk you have with your friend over the phone, or at a family get-together. It's when you are sharing ideas, events and jokes. It's warm and friendly, able to include everybody or meant only for one individual.
Debating: This is what one watches on television when two scientists share opposing opinions. It is carried out civilly and everybody keeps their shirts on. There is a certain amount of tension since opposing ideas are being presented, but they are talking about their ideas and trying to come to an understanding.
Arguing: Tempers are off and civility is thrown out the window. You are out prove your way is better than the others and is the only way to do something. Anger is at an all-time high!
It's obvious to see which of the three is bad. Arguing corrupts families and destroys relationships. But what's at the heart? Why do you insist upon your way of cooking potatoes being better and the only way of cooking them? (Maybe a bad analogy but that's what came off the top of my head.)
From all I've ever discovered, Pride is the chief trouble.
That is what's behind all the trouble. Hard to understand? Not really. Simply put: we want out way because we want it. Our Pride wont have it any other way. When I am arguing about the best way to cook potatoes, I'm only insisting because I think my way is the best. Pride.
Once we take the time to realize our own Pride we can stop, turn around, and begin going the right way. C. S Lewis says, "Sometimes turning a clock backwards is the only way to fix it."
Now I'm not saying that lightly. Pride is not an easy foe to conquer. I certainly have not mastered it. But once we give into the fact (let go of our Pride) we can recognize when Pride is beginning to effect out actions. It takes Humility, which is the opposite of Pride. Jesus calls us to be servants. Servants were in the most humble positions. Washing the feet of travelers who came to their masters house. Back in that day everybody wore sandals on dry, dusty, dirty roads. Can you imagine how filthy their feet would be after a mile of walking?
Once you feel the beginning of your temper slipping out of control, take a deep breath, lower your voice and try again. Even if the other person continues to yell, you can rest assure that you are doing your part. 10 to 1 the other person will probably realize you've changed and will also lower their voice. Returning the Argument to a Debate, which can be civilly solved.
I will part with this last tip that I have discovered through painful experience. Calling attention to the other persons raised voice will only cause more anger. Allow that person to realize on their own.
And when you feel that nothing will get the other person to stop yelling you have one remarkable ally. Silence. Politely tell the individual that you need to take a break. Be extremely polite. And walk away. I grab a book and go read. It helps to sooth me. What's your peace resort? A cup of tea, taking a walk, drawing? Find something and take a break. Once you've both had time to cool off, try approaching the tense topic calmly.
Do you have tips of how to solve/prevent arguments? Please share in the comments!!