Everywhere we turn it hits us in the face or over the head. Conflict. Conflict at home. Conflict on the job; in our cities and communities and it makes my head spin to think of the conflict in statehouses and inside the Beltway.
We can't escape it. But we can not fuel it.
We have all been in tense situations when someone is in our face, shouting us down or refusing to listen. And the greatest temptation is to spew back at them the same venom they are spewing at us. But that would be our greatest mistake because it is certain to be downhill from there.
Someone has to be the adult in the room and these are four guaranteed ways to keep your head when others seemingly have lost their mind. Though simple, but not easy (at first), with prayer and practice, they will become intuitive and second nature. You are guaranteed to come out ahead every time if you apply these four easy-to-remember techniques to tap the brakes:
Silence - not every remark, statement or social media post requires or even merits a response. Not every question requires an answer. Sometimes the best response is no response at all. If by responding you will only add fuel to an already raging fire, be quiet. If what you want to say doesn't add value to the discussion and you know nothing you say will change that person's mind, keep quiet. Silence really is golden and in terse situations can be pure gold.
Ignore - Ignore ignorance and innuendo. You can control neither trolls or fools. It's not what people call you, it's what you answer to. Unless it is a serious attack on your character that could do harm to your reputation or livelihood, ignore it. Most of the time the types of people that drop verbal and social media bombs are cowards looking for a fight or attention, at your expense. Ignore them. Ignore the dumb stuff. As William James once wrote, "The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook."
Forgive - For some, the hardest of all - forgiveness. This is where we put feet to our faith. Learn to let things go. Don't harbor resentment. Resentment gives birth to ugly twins - revenge and retaliation. We see them often in the public square. But they, like the blob, will consume us if we let them. The more we spend time talking about a wrong or perceived wrong done to us, plotting revenge or nursing resentment, the more of our life that person invariably controls. So in essence, we don't get back at the object of our resentment, he or she keeps getting back at us! Forgiveness is not for the sake of the other person but for ours. Forgiveness is not forgetting. It is choosing not to remember. Forgive. Let it go. Move on.
Talk it out - No one can read our mind nor can we read anyone else's. Think before you speak by first actively listening - seeking first to understand the other person's position. During heated discussions, it takes maturity to set aside personal feelings and actively listen to what the other person is saying - not what we in our anger hear. If a response is warranted, take a deep breath, slowly exhale and repeat what you understood them to say. This forces us to give a calmer, more reasoned response as opposed to an emotional, off-the-cuff smart remark. The deep breath relieves our tension, repeating the question buys us time and will help prevent us from saying those reactionary words we all are prone to say - words we sometimes later wish we could take back. Even more, this method of responding in an argumentative situation will bring clarity and shifts the focus back onto the issue and away from the person putting forth the issue. A rule of engagement that has proved to be successful over many generations - focus your responses on the points being made, not on the person making them. Stay on point.
Published on Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 6:48 AM CDT