What was supposed to be a discussion morphed into an argument – sounds familiar? How often have we began a conversation with our family members, colleagues, friends with the goal to talk about, just to have it turn into an argument?
The whole thing just feels like a bullet train wreck – it’s out of your hands, it takes a life of its own and people involved become angry, angry and all sorts of unkind words ensue.
There are so many factors why this sometimes happens. In this sharing, let us keep a focus on the use of language to avoid an explosion.
This is what I teach my customers: Use the word I versus You. Possessing our feelings/emotions/behaviour and accepting responsibility for the situation.
Whether it is a work discussion or a discussion regarding relationship and family matters, some kind of emotions/feelings will certainly surface. We are humans, and we come in little packages that include all the good feelings and all the bad feelings. Sometimes, for a number of us, our feelings (good or bad) are so concealed and stuck deep inside that they do not get expressed until a conversation with others ignites a spark within. For some others, we have no control over our emotions that they get ignited anytime and anywhere.
One of the keys to bear in mind if we do not need a discussion to turn into an argument is that we maintain our attention only on ourselves and the words we’re using. This is a certain guarantee.
No one likes to be accused of something, even if they did do it! This is just the ego protecting itself and wanting to come up tops in each and every human scenario. So if we don’t want to place ourselves in a position where things get volatile, avoid saying YOU too much and more importantly stay away from the blame game!
Take ownership of our own feelings/emotions that surface: I feel so sad, I feel so mad etc.. When we say what we’re feeling instead of expressing the feeling in a way which is going to come across as if we are using the other party as a punching bag, things are going to explode.
Do you find the difference between saying what you’re feeling versus expressing what you are feeling?
We say, I’m feeling so angry about this circumstance.
If we express this anger, this is the way we could say: Why did this occur? How could something so dumb happen? Why are you doing this? etc.. .
When we take possession, we are saying we are accountable for how we feel, and we must give other people an opportunity to say what they’re feeling too.
I am feeling so angry about this circumstance. I’m certain that no one intended it to be this way…
I’m feeling so angry about this, I am not sure it wasn’t your intention to hurt me, but I felt very hurt when I was talked to this way…
I’m feeling so angry about this, I do not know if they intended to do so on purpose, but I can’t help but feel so angry because the reality is, I feel so helpless in this situation…
The matter is using the I word will definitely make us more emotionally vulnerable, BUT at the same time, in addition, it assists the other party to view their own vulnerability.
So the next question a few people may ask is: what if the other person doesn’t respond in kind but goes in an attack mode while we’re being vulnerable? Stay calm and stay in precisely the exact same position of owning feelings/emotions and know that we’ve taken the higher stand in this situation. 1 person cannot begin an argument, so if we don’t feed it, it is going to die off. A discussion can still happen if both parties have calmed down if not a conversation at the time is the best way ahead.
Remember that: Discussions empower us, arguments weaken us.