Everyone You Meet is Fighting Some Kind of Battle
Take a minute to think about the last argument you had. Perhaps you argued with your spouse about taking out the garbage or doing dishes. Maybe you battled with your toddler to take a nap or with your funeral home?s limo driver to take his hat off inside. Now take a minute to think about what’s really important to you. Chances are none of the things that you battled over will come up. Battling for your real priorities would likely involve fighting for you family’s safety, changing a law to be more just, making your community a better place, and so on.
As funeral professionals, most of us would prefer to live in a conflict-free environment, where battles rarely, if ever, happen. And while it may seem like a stretch, getting to the point of figuring out what is really important, what is worth fighting for (and what’s not), and, being a little more open-minded and accepting of those around us ? is of prime importance.
We’re all given a finite amount of time in a day, and it’s up to each of us to determine how to spend it. In relationships (with your workmates, kids, with a spouse, and so on), we’re faced with many conflicts everyday, and you may be tempted to fight through each of these conflicts, to ensure you get your way, to prove that you’re “right,” or maybe just because you feel challenged. But most experts agree: choosing your battles wisely is a much better way of life than battling out every disagreement.
According to Dr. Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff, “Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren’t really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and concerns and blow them way out of proportion.
It’s up to us to choose to either make a big deal or simply let it go, and, according to Dr. Carlson, if you learn to choose your battles wisely, you’ll be far more effective in winning the battles that are truly important.
It seems that older people may really be wiser in that they are better at picking their battles than younger people. When they’re upset with others, older people are more likely to do nothing or to wait and see if things improve. Younger people, on the other hand, are more likely to argue and yell. Could it be that older people have figured out that the majority of things we argue over just aren’t worth it?
Eight Tips to Help You Avoid Unnecessary Battles
1. Don’t fight over something that’s none of your business, or that you can’t do anything about.
2. Think about the consequences of the argument. Are they worth it?
3. Determine what the conflict is really about (are you really angry that your spouse takes a long time getting ready, or do you feel she’s disrespectful for making you wait?). Once you do this, decide if it’s worth bringing up. If it is, address the underlying issue, not the superficial one.
4. Make sure the argument is going to solve something.
5. Don’t fight just because you ?feel you’ve been challenged.?
6. Ask yourself, ?Is it really a big deal?? Chances are that it’s not.
7. Realize that you don’t always have to have the last word, and often it takes the ?bigger person? to simply let the conflict go.
8. Ask yourself, ?Am I really right? Does it matter if I’m right? Is there really a right or wrong for this issue??”
Most everyone you meet is fighting a battle of some sort. It may be with themselves or it may be with others. In the words of author and public speaker Dale Carnegie:
“Any fool can criticize, complain, condemn — and most fools do. Picking your battles is impressive and fighting them fairly ? is essential.”