Friday, June 27, 2008
The Art of Shutting Up
I think the urge to argue comes to me via my family, a rowdy bunch of Jewish intellectuals who loved (and still occasionally dip into) a serious, heated argument.
Not talking here about conversations or even discussions in which opinions differ. What I'm referring to are exchanges in which both parties get hot under the collar. Communicating a different point of view can be the objective in a conversation or discussion, but from the moment an exchange turns into an argument, it's all about winning and/or being "right."
I'm talking about verbal battles, something I've engaged in all my life. These battles served their purpose in a sense, allowed me to vent my spleen (such a funny expression, isn't it?) and also brought up adrenal based energy when I was depleted.
Of course I didn't think about it that way when I was really into arguing, though I couldn't help but notice that the process never helped me cultivate lovely, trusting friendships. Oh no.
In an effort to unhinge this habit, I've been practicing the art of shutting up. That includes letting go of having the last word, which is really so powerful! Astonishing how well it works. I'm also trying hard to recognize when a discussion is escalating into an argument. As soon as I see it coming, I just stop. Stop talking, stop emailing, stop exchanging voicemails. Next step: Let go of the whole episode. Move on.
My campaign of peace is working very well, though to be completely honest I should admit that I'm not spending a lot of time communicating with people who love a good fight like I used to. It helps to spend my time with like minded people, in so many ways it helps! Fury begets fury. Rage begets rage. Life is short, I'd rather beget peace by being peaceful. If you have another opinion, by all means, let me know. You can have the last word - I promise!
Have a peaceful weekend, ya'll. Stay cool.