How do you tackle disagreements? Do you work towards finding a solution, or do you you get mad? Does your ego get hurt? Do you try to prove yourself right and the other person wrong?
There is a close friend of my father. He is a Hindu by religion. Recently, his daughter announced she was in love with a Muslim guy and wants to marry him. He felt devastated. He believes absolutely in religion and religious differences and cannot accept this idea. He tried to make his daughter understand that this was a wrong idea. He tried his best to make her see the right way. I have known a lot of people who approach disagreements this way. They are absolutely convinced they are right and put all their effort into convincing the other person. Needless to say, his daughter was not convinced.
When you have disagreements, you have to allow some space for others to be correct and for you to be wrong. If you start with the assumption that you are right and discussion, to you, means making the other person understand your way as the correct way, then all you will end up with will be arguments, hurt pride and bad feelings. Do you keep asking why no one listens to you? Approaching a discussion with the belief that you are right shows arrogance, selfishness and narrowmindedness. So when you are starting a discussion, understand and accept that you are human and can be wrong, even about something that you totally, absolutely believe in. This helps in starting a real discussion, where not only disagreements can be resolved, but new knowledge and insights gained and better, stronger bonds formed with fellow human beings.
What to do
Handling disagreements becomes easy if you believe in the law of attraction. Whatever you feel and perceive in this world, even about what others do, is a reflection of your attitudes and thought patterns. Understand first that, all that you are experiencing in this world, even that which you attribute to circumstance or to others, is all, without exception, of your own making. You are totally and solely responsible for it.
This belief entails a lot of personal responsibility for your life and also a lot of freedom. With this belief, whatever happens and what you feel about it, is all in your own hands now.
With this belief, ego will find very little space and a lot of the things and people that bothered you before, cease to do so.
In the heat of the moment
- The first thing to do is, if possible, to find solitude, calm your mind and ask yourself this question – ‘Is my ego at play here?’. When you are about to address some disagreement with someone, its good to take a moment to get your ego and hurt pride out of the way and look for what exactly is bothering you.
- When you are feeling hurt and angry in the midst of a discussion(which probably is turning into an argument by now), slow yourself down, take a deep breath. Remind yourself that all your experiences are in your control.
- I like something I saw in the movie, ‘3 idiots’. The main protagonist tells his friend that people have a tendency to blow things out of proportion and fret over them. He asked them to tell themselves – ‘Aal iz well'(All is well). I use this for ‘association’. I repeat this thing ever so often. I have also associated a body movement with this phrase and have developed it over some time. I thump my chest once and say -‘All is well, all is good’ and really feel what I am saying. I do this regularly, so much so that my mind has now associated this whole action with the feeling of wellness and goodness. As soon as I do it, even in a stressful situation like an argument, I immediately feel calm and in control, the Universe starts looking friendly. I use this when I feel like my ego is taking over in a discussion and I am feeling threatened. Instantly, I start feeling more at ease and more receptive to what the other person is saying.
- When you feel your pride is hurt, its not necessary to bite back right away. Ask yourself, what is it that is really bothering you? What was it that you started the discussion for. Bring your focus and discussion back to that topic. Move towards addressing and solving that.
- Try to detach yourself from the situation when the other person is reacting. It seems difficult but it is possible. If you believe in the law of attraction, if you assume total responsibility for what you experience and believe in the connectedness of everything and everybody, if you believe in subjective reality, you will find all this very easy. I know your head must be spinning from the number of things you have to believe in to do this, but they are all quite good beliefs to try :). Once you realize you have entered into an argument and both you and the other person are under the control of your ego’s, you can detach yourself and observe the other person as he lashes out at you. It is possible to maintain composure through this. What’s more, when you do this, it has a calming effect on the other person and you will find him cooling down too. You can even observe yourself reacting, feel the futility of your actions and stop yourself from continuing it.
- If you find yourself getting into an argument with someone, over and over again. And if you have already tried your best to reach an agreement reasonably but the person is too much of an egoist to be co operative, you have to realize there is no discussion possible. You cannot talk ego and pride out of a person, you cannot make them better humans. This is all personal work, to be done by each individual for themselves. You can only suggest something. If it doesn’t work, its time to look for other solutions to the problem.
For those who never have disagreements
If you never have disagreements, I feel you need to ask yourself whether you are trying too hard to please everyone. Its impossible for even the best of friends or partners to always see eye to eye on everything.
Maybe you believe in living peacefully with others, not coming in any body’s way, not causing any trouble for anyone. This is not such a good thing as you would like to believe. You need to respect yourself as much as you do others, there should be a balance. Disagreements are not really bad as most people make them out to be. They help you learn and to understand others better. If you are avoiding them and making the excuse of being amiable, I will be a little harsh on you and call you a coward. Don’t be afraid, it’s normal to disagree.
If you feel I am right about this, try confronting someone today with whom you disagree and try to work it out with him. Work as if both of you are on the same side, work towards a solution. You might be happily surprised by the result. If nothing else, you will feel good for the courage you displayed.