We all argue. Well, for sure we all disagree. Arguing is an option. We can peacefully debate opposite sides of a topic and without having it escalate to anger, shouting, name-calling, and hurt feelings. Yet oftentimes it does. When people do not feel as though they are being heard or understood they become upset. They are concerned that what matters to them will be overlooked and their needs will not be considered. So they increase the volume or use stronger words or statements in an attempt to get their point across. The other party feels as though they are losing control and seeks to regain the upper hand and thus begins the argument. One or both parties make three key mistakes: 1) They view their disagreement as a win/lose situation and therefore fight to achieve victory; 2) Assume that a disagreement involves one side being right and therefore the other wrong. Each will fight to maintain that their position is the more valid one. 3) In not feeling heard, the individual feels disrespected and devalued. Being acknowledged is one of the fundamental needs of all human beings and allows one to feel a certain amount of safety and trust within the relationship.
Three key mistakes, three simple tips that can eliminate the need to argue forever. U~F~O: Understanding; Firm and Fair; Optimum Outcome.
1. Understanding: it is critical to listen to understand the other person’s position, needs, beliefs, and feelings. Too often, we listen with the intent of responding which indicates that our reply holds greater importance than what the other person is sharing with us. This creates feelings of being minimized and devalued. Those who do not feel important do not feel safe and will fight harder to protect their rights.
2. Firm and Fair: ask yourself, “Is what I’m seeking to attain from this discussion fair and reasonable at this time, under these conditions, with all parties concerned?” Being fair to all those involved shows respect and integrity and pays huge dividends. It’s also critical to be firm in the way in which you are being treated and in what you are seeking. Let the other party know how you want to be treated, and what issues you are willing to compromise on as well as which ones are non-negotiable. Keep in mind, that as time progresses, circumstances often change and these issues may need to be readdressed.
3. Optimum Outcome: seek to find the solution that will best serve all parties. This can only be accomplished when both sides understand and value each person’s unique perspective and needs. Each individual must have some of their needs met on some level in order to feel satisfied so a compromise is generally the best path to take. Chose the solution that has the most value for all parties and causes the least amount of hardship or harm to all those concerned.
Eliminating arguments requires a few simple precautions coupled with some straightforward strategies. Do not invite your ego to the discussion as it is more concerned with the self than doing what is right and best for all parties. Approach the discussion from a place of caring and generosity. Always consider the other person’s feelings and needs equally as valid as yours. Concern goes a long way. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 Timothy 2:23-24 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone…
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