I’ve never been on a debating team; my ability to come back with a “zinger” is questionable; and having a soft-spoken voice has probably lost me some points in a heated discussion.
Perhaps this is why I write: to get my point across more effectively with the written word rather than via an open mouth. So what’s it all about then – the need to convince someone of your opinion? Let’s be frank here: the need to convince someone to your side of thinking is primarily a need to show them you’re right (and they are wrong).
Ouch! That sort of stings when I put it out there, doesn’t it? But we human beings don’t like to be embarrassed or humiliated. And our egos will defend us to the end even when we know we are “losing” ground.
If the argument’s about whether you did or did not take out the garbage on Tuesday morning or whether your dress was too revealing at the boss’ dinner last weekend, chances are the discussion will blow over and be forgotten – perhaps even be laughed about at a future date. Arguing a point becomes serious and even dangerous when the subject matter moves from incident to ideology.
I believe stuff. You believe stuff too.
And not unexpectedly, we probably believe in some different things – from values to traditions, to rules, belief systems, rituals and principles. As is said, “Everyone has a right to their own opinion.” Respecting this adage is based on universal tolerance – the capability of accepting another’s view even when you don’t necessarily agree with it.
When you believe in an idea or perspective to the exclusion of not being able to accept any other option or alternative except your own, this results in a heated often bitter argument that has no resolution. When a stance is absolute, resolution is impossible because there is no room for compromise or acceptance. The overriding need and conviction that you are right colors everything. Is it really worth it to be right all the time? Or a better question is, “How do you know you are right?”
Next time you find yourself looking to be in control by being right, back down, accept the other opinion (remember you don’t have to agree with it), and feel the sense of relief and calm within yourself. Life is a battleground – no question about it but you don’t have to create battles that aren’t really there in the first place.
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