via Daily Prompt: Argument
I get myself into trouble when I personalize. This happens when someone disagrees with me about an idea, and I think it’s about me, not the idea. I start thinking they are attacking me instead of trying to find a solution to something that’s outside both of us.
This has a terrible effect – fights, hurt feelings, raised voices, strained relationships, long periods of moping, and more. This habit has nearly destroyed me at times.
There’s a way out and through, though. A discussion of any tough topic doesn’t have end in hurt feelings, no one needs to feel attacked. The secret is a shift in mindset.
The best way to discuss something is to use arguments, rather than have them. Think of the discussion as two people working together to solve a common problem. There isn’t anything personal about it, nobody’s good or bad, the object is for you to work together to find the right answer.
The next time someone disagrees with me, or says something I find difficult to accept, I’m going to shift my focus from myself to the idea. Thinking logically is the antidote to all the ruin that can happen if I personalize.
As I go about my daily life, I constantly hear people talking about their feelings. Only, they are doing this when they are making decisions that ought to be made with their minds, not their feelings.
“I feel this would be the right job to take.” “I feel this is a good deal.” “I feel this scientist has made a mistake.”
Sure, it could be brushed off as a figure of speech. But what we say betrays how we think. If we really were talking about thinking, we wouldn’t say “feel” all the time, would we?
Not only that, but I see that the result of people listening to their feelings instead of their logic is a whole host of problems, not limited to abusive behavior, mental unstability, belief based science, and the desire to control what everyone else does instead of controlling oneself. It can even lead to financial ruin for everyone from families on up to nations.
I am certainly not exempt. This is something I struggle with on a daily basis.
I have nothing against feelings. I just think that they need to be listened to only when they are appropriate. Just as you wouldn’t necessarily think and analyze why a kitten is so cute when she’s purring and enjoying her fuzzy mouse toy, you shouldn’t just feel when it’s time to decide what mix of proteins and vitamins to feed her for optimal health. Yet people do that all the time when they look at the cute picture on the bag instead of reading the ingredients list.
Which one would you choose? Would you choose to be storm-tossed, at the mercy of your feelings, and making decisions based on what feels good? Or would you choose to be informed by your emotions, but ultimately have reason at the tiller?