Saturday, 13 March 2010

Giving up victory

Currently I am trying to argue more constructively. Giving up the need to "win" an argument is an important part of this process. I find that when I can bear this in mind things go much more positively.

We are all human. We all make mistakes. We cannot and do not always behave as our better selves. When this happens it is vitally important to "own your own shit". To be able to acknowledge and accept that you have screwed up and to take responsibility for the consequences.

Seeing how your behaviour hurts another, or if it has been unreasonable, can be hard sometimes and may require someone pointing it out to you, and this can lead to arguments. It is easy to feel on the defensive when we are criticised, and to say whatever we can to defend our position or action, even if it is unjustified.

But arguments are not necessarily completely negative; constructive discussion can lead to resolution of long-standing problems in a relationship and promote new ways of looking at things leading to a happier relationship. The important thing it to try to argue positively.

For this to work there must be honesty, trust and mutual respect. These are the fundamentals of any relationship. There must be a commitment to each other and to making your relationship work.

It is important to remember when you disagree that:-
· there is no "winner" and no “loser”
· you are challenging someone's behaviour, not attacking them as a person
· you are dealing with a particular issue for the betterment of your relationship and not just aiming to score points off one another
· you are working together as a team, confronting the issue, rather than one another
· you are working for resolution not "victory"

This way there is more mutual satisfaction and less disgruntlement when the argument ends.

Know that you love your partners and that they love you.

It can be helpful to start with an argument code. The do's and don’ts of arguments e.g. honesty, staying on topic, remembering it is the issue you are arguing, no violence or personal abuse, time-outs etc. An argument code should be agreed by everybody involved, and then it can be kept somewhere visible, to remind everybody to stick to it. There will be backsliding even with the best of intentions, but you do get better at it over time.

Another alternative is the "speaker's staff" where only one person at a time may speak. The person holding the “speaker’s staff” speaks without interruption until they have finished, then it is handed on.

Whatever works for your relationship.

We, as men, must get beyond the competitive win or lose model which is only destructive in any relationship. We have to learn to be emotionally honest and to lose some of the defensive emotional camouflage which we have been trained to use from childhood.

If we wish to be treated as equals in our relationships then we must attain some emotional maturity, even when it hurts.

No comments:

Post a Comment