One of the things that I’m really focusing on of late is knowing when to bite and when not to bite. And I’m not talking about food.
How many times have you been in a situation where someone says something to antagonize you, or to get you to bite back? Often our initial response is to do just that. But leading with emotion rather than thinking about it first, often only leads to unnecessary conflict.
Certainly there are times when you should stand up and say what you are thinking, absolutely! But the key i,s knowing when not to.
This week I was on Facebook when a status update regarding a very emotive issue appeared in my feed. I replied with my thoughts, in a nice and objective fashion and that was that. Or so I thought. Then others on there started attacking my point of view. (I was on the minority side of the argument!). There were a couple of back and forths which I tried to stay very calm and be nice about ‘respecting opinion’ and ‘giving an alternative point of view‘ and then someone replied with a very, very sarcastic comment.
Reading the comment I felt the adrenaline surge inside me. I could feel the anger and bite ready to lash out. But I stopped. I stepped away from the computer, logged out of Facebook and stayed off for the next 24 hours. The first hour I had a rapid fire of snarly responses on replay through my brain, and then slowly I began to calm down. The rage became a simmer, the simmer a calm.
You see, to bite would have only caused more conflict, and in by choosing to avoid the conflict I gained perspective. Perspective that made me realise, the issue wasn’t of global importance to my world, right here, right now. Yes, it was an important issue but this is where we need to make the choice whether or not it is an issue we need to tackle in that moment, in that way.
I felt much better after stepping away. I made the right choice. I haven’t gone back and revisited the thread of comments, I have left it alone. I don’t need it. I am trying to simplify my life. And what better way to do so than leave ugliness and fruitless arguments alone.
So next time you see conflict on the horizon ask yourself this question:
Is it something that is going to unnecessarily complicate your life, or is it a battle to face another day, another time. Or is it just better left alone.
Do you let others needlessly complicate your life?