Posts Tagged ‘arguing’

5 QUALITIES OF NON VIOLENT FIGHTING

When individuals disagree on a subject matter, whether it’s politics, religion, home projects, budgeting issues or such, very often the discussion escalates into a full-blown fight. Tensions rise as each side tries to convince the other that their beliefs or ways of doing something are more valid that the others, that they are right on their position. In my conflict resolution training program, I stress the importance of refraining from using the terms right or wrong. To do so indicates an insecurity that needs strengthening by proving oneself superior over another. The vast majority of issues we disagree on are not matters of right or wrong: they are simply issues of perception, preference, or opinion. Only issues of morality or fact can be deemed accurate or false. To recommend that people refrain from debating certain topics that they disagree on is unnecessary. Debates can be beneficial on so many levels such as enabling both sides to learn something new, to entertain the possibility that there is some validity to what the other is saying, to hone their communication and listening strategies, as well as learning tolerance and acceptance.

So how can two people strongly disagree on a topic and discuss it without having it escalate into verbal violence or aggression? There are five key strategies one must employ.

Confidence: When an individual feels strongly that their beliefs, ideas, feelings or ways of living life are valid, they are able to submit compelling facts to support their side. They are strong and secure in their position and comfortable with what they are presenting to support their side. Confidence does not feel threatened by those who disagree as they feel that no matter how strongly the other party feels about their position, a poised person can hold their ground and not acquiesce to their ways. Confidence, a belief in one’s abilities, enables the person to listen open-mindedly without fear of how the other might react or respond to them, nor what opinion the other person may form about them. Good, bad, or indifferent, confidence says, “I’m fine with whatever the outcome of our conversation is.”

They are also interested in sharing their thoughts without the need to convert the other party to their ways nor show them the error of theirs. There is no competition; only shared dialogue.

Those who are insecure or uncertain present a weak perspective easily crushed by the other side. In this instance, they feel at a disadvantage and may easily resort to yelling, raging, insults, criticisms, threats, demeaning comments and so on in order to intimidate the other party to back off, thus giving the illusion that they won. However, one who is secure in their beliefs creates a win-win situation for all, allowing the other side to maintain their dignity and beliefs as well.

Assertive: One who is assertive is gifted with a strong sense of self, a belief that they are capable of handling themselves well in any given situation. Regardless of the nature of the disagreement, an assertive person cares deeply about the well-being of their opponent with no interest in degrading them by proving them to be error. Differences are viewed as assets rather than obstacles and a lively debate is welcomed. Comfortable with taking the initiative, they are highly focused on finding common ground with the other party and are adept at directing the conversation on a positive course. If one party veers off on a tangent, they can readily bring them back into focus. If the other party becomes irate or hostile, they are well-equipped to set some boundaries and diffuse the incident. Assertives have a quiet air of inner strength and confidence about them; they neither rant nor yell nor threaten nor belittle. Their tone of voice is steady, strong and clear. They are leaders with viable skills and concern that keep a potentially volatile situation calm and productive.

Respectful: Respect is a treatment that we all seek yet few actually know the meaning of the word. To respect means to value. All human beings want to be treated with dignity and respect, as though they matter. Reverence does not have to be earned – it is a God-given right of every person ever born into this world. Yet some seem to believe that they have the authority to designate who has greater worth than another. If this is the mindset of one who engages in an oppositional discussion then there is sure to be frustration, anger, and hostility from the other side. It is critical to view the other person as worthy as yourself, to begin the discussion on an equal playing field so that no one feels greater or less than the other. This simple message, that you matter as much as I do, enables the other party to lower their defenses and trust you in the sense that you have their best interest at heart as you do your own. Even though I may vehemently disagree with your position, even though I may not understand it, a respectful individual recognizes that their beliefs are equally as valid to them as mine are to me. Being polite in that one simple regard dictates the nature and course of the conversation and keeps it on a positive and constructive note.

Fair-minded: One of humanities basic needs is to be treated fairly. This involves providing sufficient time for the other person to present their side; to listen without criticizing or interrupting; to refrain from making fun of or trying to disprove their points. Finding some valid points sends the message that you recognize the legitimacy of what they are saying even if you do not agree with it. Being fair means commenting on the issues, not criticizing the person (attack the issues not the individual).

If the discussion is one what needs a resolution, a fair-minded person will seek some sort of compromise. Their desire to make certain the other party is satisfied with the outcome is critically important to them. They will typically reassure them by making certain their needs are being met first and/or giving them more than they are expecting or entitled to. They fully embrace the belief that it is better to give than to receive and that it is in giving that we receive the most.

Solution-oriented: Not every disagreement will be resolved nor are they meant to be. Sometimes a debate is simply a sharing of ideas, beliefs, feelings or position. You will never convince a Republican to join the Democratic party or vice versa. Nor should we. It is in our differences that we find growth and expansion.

However, in those situations where an agreement is imperative, it is key to begin the conversation with the end goal in mind. What are we seeking to accomplish? What absolutely needs to take place in order for this issue to be put to rest at the satisfaction of both parties? Having a clear goal enables one to lay out a straightforward plan of action to achieve those goals. They are not sidetracked by superfluous facts or opinions, they avoid blame and finger-pointed, and they stay focused on finding a solution. They listen to all sides and take into consideration all perspectives and suggestions in addition to keeping the process short and sweet.

It’s critically important to enter into any discussion with a positive and open mind. Seek to listen, to learn, to understand, and to care about. If you find yourself becoming frustrated, take a moment and practice the SWaT Strategy: STOP the conversation, WALK away to emotionally disconnect, and TALK yourself calm. When you have regained your composure, return with the intent to have a successful and productive conversation. Utilize the 5 Qualities – confidence, assertive, respectful, fair-minded, and solution-oriented – and you fill discover a simple path to having a non-violent fight.

Ephesians 4:2 “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

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TEN TIPS TO DIFFUSE A VOLATILE SITUATION

We are living in a very volatile and dangerous age. Not only have issues of domestic violence, child and animal abuse, anger in the workplace and so on been more apparent, but we are definitely witnessing a rise of violence within our communities. Gangs and individual assaults seem to be taking a back seat to protests by militant groups claiming to seek justice but who in actuality are promoting and engaging in acts of violence themselves. What could be a peaceful gathering intent on seeking a reasonable solution to a problem escalates to one of violence and often bloodshed. Angry and passionate individuals determined to right an injustice only create further mayhem by advocating and engaging in the very acts they condemn.
But is it possible for large masses of angry individuals to successfully , reasonable, and peacefully find solutions to perceived issues of extreme injustice? Yes, if both sides follow these ten recommended tips:

1. Approach other party(s) in a non hostile non aggressive way. By taking a non threatening approach the other party feels relatively confident that they are not at risk physically or otherwise and therefore the need for a defensive response is unnecessary.
2. Be open minded and fair in the way you present your grievances. Refrain from using such phrases as “you always”, “we never” “it can’t”. In each case, one assumes a scenario that is not necessarily true, appears extreme and unrealistic, and creates a mindset of preconceived defeat.
3. Be respectful in the way you speak to and treat one another. Passion need not translate into disrespectful or degrading conduct towards the disagreeing party. Always be mindful that the amount of cooperation you receive from the other party is in direct proportion to the amount of respect you afford them. So be generous.
4. Deal with facts, not simply feelings. Too often we rant about how angry or hurt or offended we are. Dealing with facts enables us to more accurately see the true nature of the incident. Adding feelings to the dialogue lends a deeper level of understanding as to how the incident is impacting both sides.
5. Keep everything in the proper perspective. Exaggerating may add an element of drama but is only effective on stage. Deal with the serious issues and leave those of lesser importance for another time.
6. Remove any extraneous issues; stick to the original topic. When discussing a serious issue, refrain from going off on tangents. It’s easy to become distracted by related issues but only takes precious resources away from the primary one.
7. Refrain from any inflammatory or accusatory statements. Quickly diffuse any that may occur. Accusations, blame, assumptions, and exaggerations can all incite. There are those who will deliberately try to provoke the other into losing control. Be aware of the intent and nature of every comment and quickly diffuse anything that can escalate to something more serious. Don’t ever take the bait.
8. Listen objectively with the intent to understand the other person, to gain deeper insight into the nature of the conflict, and to extract any possible solutions or partial solutions offered by the other party.
9. Be willing to compromise, recognizing that each side believes their position is valid and correct.
10. Show appreciation for the time and effort the other side has put forth. A little appreciation goes a long way and can enable both sides to reach a peaceful resolution more efficiently and quickly.

With true concern for the well-being of each other and a sincere desire to resolve the issue peacefully, anyone can find a reasonable solution to any challenge by following the above Ten Tips. It can be challenging but with practice and determination and a sincere regard for justice, one can realize the path to coexisting harmoniously with others. And we certainly are all deserving of that.

Let me reiterate: “The amount of cooperation you receive from the other party is in direct proportion to the amount of respect you afford them.” Be generous.

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WHEN TO FIGHT AND WHEN TO NOT

I’m not much of a fighter. When I was a child, my dad taught me that if someone hits you, hit them back but never be the one to throw the first punch. In essence, only fight back when you have to defend yourself. My mom’s message was taken from Luke 6:29 and contradicted Dad’s: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.” Her voice resonated the strongest with me and for the better part of my life I’d walk away from any confrontation whether physical or verbal. During my childhood, there was a girl who frequently bullied me. I continually walked away from her but she was relentless. One day, I told my older sister who took up my cause. She grabbed the girl by the hair and told her to leave me alone. She never bothered me again.

With the exception of protecting myself in a domestic violence relationship, I have never engaged in physical conflict in my life. And while my typical style of confrontation was one of silence, I have since become more comfortable with engaging in disputes of a verbal nature. While I refuse to participate in an ugly or hostile discussion, I can now more easily verbally defend what I believe in.

Mankind is often quick and eager to fight. A sense of arrogance and entitlement has lessened one’s ability to be patient, has classified some as unworthy of being treated with respect and dignity, and supports the belief that the self should have what they want even at the expense of others. People also have a lower tolerance level than ever before and in many instances seek every opportunity to incite an argument or fight in an attempt to assert power and dominance over others. None of these are a spiritually valid reason for fighting.

There is a time and place for everything and one needs to know when it is best to follow my Mom’s and Luke’s advice to simply walk away and when one needs to stand up for justice as recommended in Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Keep in mind, that when I speak of fighting, I am in no way referring to physical altercations, the destruction of property, or nasty, hateful verbal assaults or threats of any kind. The key to successfully defending one’s person or position and seeking righteous justice (that is, according to Divine Law) is knowing when it’s appropriate to stand tall and when it’s best to let things be as they are. Having a proper set of communication and negotiating skills is essential as well.

Here are some guidelines:

WHEN TO FIGHT:
You are defending those incapable of protecting themselves.
The issue is serious and will not resolve itself or will escalate if not addressed.
There is severe and real harm being perpetrated against yourself or another.
The offense is in violation of God’s law; it is a moral issue.
To remain silent allows evil to prosper.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Sir Edmund Burke

WHEN TO NOT:
No one is being harmed physically, emotionally, or psychologically.
The only thing bruised is your ego.
You have a personal vendetta against the other party.
You are seeking revenge. Romans 12:19 “beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of god, for it is written, “vengeance is mine, i will repay, says the lord.”
The issue will resolve itself.
There is a serious risk that getting involved will only escalate matters.
The issue will not matter in ten years.
It’s none of my business or the other party can handle it themselves.
There is only a perception of harm, not a real and valid threat.
The issue is not one of a moral nature.

Keep in mind, that humans are known for making mountains out of molehills; for making matters appear far more serious than they are; for seeking to exert dominance over others. If any of these are your motives for getting involved in an exchange of ideas (I hesitate to use the word fight for it’s generally accepted definition of a physical altercation or an extremely heated debate) I strongly advise reassessing the situation and finding an alternative course of action. However, if you reasons are to stand up for what you truly believe is morally right, then by all means pursue your decision to address the issue.

Let me reiterate: in the beginning I stated that “for the better part of my life I’d walk away from any confrontation”. My choice of words accurately reflects my beliefs: life is consistently better when one chooses to not fight. (Did you notice that I listed twice as many reasons to not fight?) Therefore, be discreet: carefully and righteously evaluate each situation before becoming involved. Know when it is in your best interest, as well as the other party’s, to simply let things be as they are. If intervention is essential, carefully choose your attitude and approach, motives and methods for they will certainly determine the outcome and lasting effects of your efforts.

Q: The goal of the righteous is to bring a peaceful and fair resolution to each situation for all those concerned.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
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