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Do we always have to win the argument?

Please welcome Amy Whitney to Spero Group. This is her first Mental Health Monday. Amy brings a wealth of experience in the health care field to our group. She will be working with businesses to provide emotional health and wellness solutions as part of our Workplace Wellness program.

It is interesting how we become different people during an argument. Did you ever notice that when someone is yelling at you that you never hear what they are saying and are only thinking about a comeback? In your next argument, it would be good to try to respond instead of react to the other person. After hearing what the other person has to say, respond by deciding if the argument is going to make a difference in your life or in your relationship with this person. If the answer is that it will make a difference, then present your response in a calm, collected way and work through it. If the answer is that it does not really matter, then save your energy by changing the topic or by just listening to that person.

I used to think that if I could not win an argument that it meant that my feelings did not matter. One time, I had an argument with my husband that lasted throughout the afternoon. I turned into another person who used bad language and was driven by all emotion without logic. By the end of the afternoon, I could not even tell you how the argument had started and neither could he. We had spent the better part of the day making obnoxious comments to each other and bringing up old disagreements. So I had to sit back and ask myself, was that a waste of time? The answer is that it had been a waste of time. I felt no resolution and was just exhausted.

It is acceptable to believe in our own ideas enough that we do not need others to agree with us. It is okay to accept a response from someone else that does not match our own because it does not mean that what I think does not matter. We do not have to win an argument to be validated as people.

As I am sitting here writing this post, my husband is arguing with me about something in a picture we disagree about and he just pointed out that I was not listening. In this moment, I am going to choose to listen to him and change the subject. It worked!! So, instead of a whole evening, I had a disagreement that lasted five minutes. (I know that I was right about the picture and that is all that I need to know).

Your stress levels will decrease overall if you can accept that you do not need to win every argument. When you control your reaction, you really have already won the argument. This week if someone tries to argue with you just smile and listen. Your reaction will probably shock the other person who is used to getting a reaction from others. When they look surprised, I would smile even more.   

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