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Communication 101: If You Try to Win the Battle, You Might Lose the War

Communication 101:  If You Try to Win the Battle, You Might Lose the War

     “You might say, a focus on being right is actually “wrong!”

    Do you ever have an argument, and end up feeling badly even if you “win?” Winning and being “right” does not ensure that things will end well. In fact, if your sense of victory is dependent on another person’s defeat, the victory might be hollow, indeed. Being “right” is over-rated. When people are in an argument – what really are they doing? They want to defend themselves!  In an argument, each person is trying to change the other.  And who is really the only one we can change?  We all know the answer: ourselves! 

    Although most of us know better, we give it a valiant try to change others anyway, because we are just so convinced that if they saw it our way, things would be better. All too often well meaning souls think they know what is best for others, and want to tweak someone else’s mind or convince them why they need to change. That is called Aggressive BehaviorAggressive Behavior is characterized by “YOU” statements, and focuses on how the other person “should be.”  Many times aggressive communication is designed to “get back” at someone else or control how they behave or think.  An example of an aggressive statement is “You have no right to say that to me!” Many people think that aggression is okay if the end justifies the means, but really anything short of physical danger does not merit aggression, because by definition the behavior is authoritarian and judgmental.

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    Of course, children need parents to set guidelines, limits and consequences, and it is the logical consequences that help children to learn from their mistakes.  but they don’t need scolding and yelling to learn, and in fact they learn to be fearful and inhibited rather than learning the lesson at hand.   The emotional consequences of power struggles, fear and anger lead to a lot of negativity, guilt and low self esteem. Healthy communication in parenting and otherwise is focused on self-expression without the goal of changing someone else. That is called authoritative parenting, which is differentiated from authoritarian parenting which relies on anger, negative emotions and criticalness.

    Authoritative, assertive communication uses “I” statements.  “I” statements are meant to be honest, but uses tact.  It is not judgmental and expresses personal feelings without trying to change the way someone else sees things.  An assertive statement is “I felt angry when you raised your voice at me and called me names”  in contrast to the victim-like “You make me so mad!”

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    Communication Takeaways 

    • Strive to use assertive behavior and remind yourself that your goal is to express yourself rather than change someone’s mind. The motto of assertive behavior is like the popular 70’s Psychology book, “I’m Okay, You’re Okay.”
    • Aggressive Behavior is characterized by “You” statements and the focus is on controlling and being right over another person. That type of behavior erodes relationships. The motto here is: “I’m Okay – You’re Not!”  
    • Very few relationships flourish with the type of attitude that you want to achieve superiority in an argument, rather than seeking a “win-win’ solution.  
    • Instead of striving to “win”  seek to be assertive, show empathy, and work on validating others without putting them down. 
    • Ask yourself – “Would I rather “judge” or show someone that I care?”  Love wins over teaching hands down! 
    • Victories become empty over time if your need to be right becomes a pattern. Others might distance form you, or feel tense in your presence.  It’s lonely out there!
    • Don’t pull!  Trying to be right is like putting your fingers in the Chinese Finger Trap carnival you are stuck. The more you try to prove you are right, and the more the other person pulls, your relationship suffers.

    So think of the most recent conflict you had with someone close to you.  Were you focusing on proving how you were right?  If so, how would it had gone differently if you focused instead on validating and empathizing with how they felt rather than setting them straight?     So next time you are close to getting  in an argument and want to prove you are right, just imagine or pull out the carnival toy, the Chinese Finger Trap, and remind yourself not to get stuck in it!

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    How can you listen and really understand when you are too busy defending yourself and trying to change their mind? Remember that a focus on being right ends up making you wrong!  

    (Photo credit: Tin Can Phones via Shutterstock)

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    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

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    Last Updated on April 9, 2020

    How To Trust Your Intuition When You’re Making a Decision

    How To Trust Your Intuition When You’re Making a Decision

    When you have an important decision to make, what is the first thing you do?

    You want to know if your decision is right or wrong because, of course, you want to make the right choice. Do you go to friends hoping they will tell you? Do you agonize over it writing lists? Or have you ever tried to feel into the wisdom of your body? We all have the ability to read the body’s signs – inwards and out. But not everyone knows how to listen and trust your intuition.

    You may have noticed two voices in your head arguing back and forth. They can get loud and confusing because they both seem concerned for your well-being.

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    So which one is your inner knowing and which is simply resistant? You can tell through the simple exercise of slowing down, breathing deeply and tuning into your body. You will notice very real signs.

    Everyone can tune into their intuition with the simple exercise outlined below. If you want to know how to trust your intuition, read on.

    The Golden Rule

    A rising, light and expansive feeling in your heart is a yes. A sinking, contracting and heavy feeling in your gut is a maybe or a no, which are both a no. The best way to access these feelings is by slowing down with a deep breath.

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    Access Your Inner Guidance

    Think of a simple decision you have to make that has two sides to it. Forgetting your background stories, take each at a time and sort of role play as you alternate each option in your mind.

    Don’t go into the details of how you’ll get there or how a certain person might feel about it. Drop the stories and worries around it, simply be with one option, as though it is your choice. Remember, you can always pick up your concerns again right afterwards, if you want!

    Bring option A into your mind like you are already there. It doesn’t have to be super specific, just imagine it is the direction you take. Start with the breath because it is clearing, it resets your nervous system and brings you to be completely present. Begin with your long, deep breath, exhaling all the way out.

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    As you sit there and think of option A, notice what is happening in your body. What sensations are there, and where? Do you feel a buzzing in a limb or a prickling sensation? Maybe butterflies in your stomach? Sit with it, not judging it. Simply take note of what your body is telling you. If it is light and expansive then you have a good option. Now, take another breath to clear out option A.

    Next you will probably notice feelings in different parts of your body as you focus on option B. Again, drop the fear and doubt you might have around it. Let yourself imagine (just for now) that this is what you’re choosing. Your breath is so important in this because it slows you down and connects you with your inner guidance. Give yourself that few extra seconds to deepen your breath. It will help you feel incredibly clear.

    Become curious about the feelings in your body and how they are different from the last option. What do they mean? The answer is always in the weight of them. If they rise and feel light, you have your yes. The option that feels shrouded, heavier, contracted and sinking deeper in your stomach is the warning. It sounds simplistic, because it is.

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    Your body has a profound and simple wisdom. When you let go of old expectations and open up to myriad possibilities, you can easily feel the best avenue to take simply by following what feels best. This is an important key in manifestation because how you feel at the start of any endeavor is generally how it will play out. So the lighter you feel about a situation, the happier it will be.

    The Bottom Line

    A special thing about intuition is that it never explains, it simply points the way. It may not always seem logical, but if it feels best then it will lead you to your success.

    Remember, you need not to explain yourself either. Your internal yes will always be with you. The more you practice this and follow your internal yes, the stronger it will become and the more confidence you will gain! Soon you will notice it to be second nature, and the answer will come to you in a heart beat.

    How have you connected to your intuition? We would love to hear how this exercise works for you. Where did you feel the yes or the no in your body? 

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    Featured photo credit: Adrià García Sarceda via unsplash.com

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