Choose Your Battles Wisely

“Anybody can become angry—that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way—that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” ~Aristotle

“The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.” ~Dale Carnegie

“Ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool.” ~Charles Simmons

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Speak when you are angry – and you‘ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” ~Laurence J. Peter

We have all heard—and at times I am sure we have used—the expressions “Don’t cry over spilt milk” or, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. What does this mean exactly? It means in life some things are just not worth getting upset about, especially to the point of causing an argument and lashing out at someone, be it a family member or the clerk at the grocery store. All we do is create unnecessary drama in our lives.

Drama Blocks Displays Dramatic Theater or Emotional Feelings

Everyone seems to agree with this concept. So the question becomes why do we cry and sweat? Why do we get upset over the insignificant things that happen in life? Is it really about the thing we are getting upset about, or the person we are lashing out at? Or is it really telling us something about ourselves and where we are in that particular moment?

Sure there are some things worthy of anger. But it’s how we react to our anger that matters most. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, is worth demeaning, belittling, screaming at or degrading another human being. It is our responsibility to deal with our anger in a healthy and productive way, not to try and project it onto another living soul. It helps to remember that everyone is doing the very best they can in each moment given their level of awareness and that includes you as well.

So today choose to be more aware and realize it is neither productive nor healthy to attack another person when you are angry. The responsibly healthy thing to do is step back, walk away, and asses where your anger is coming from. Then find a safe way to process this anger—one that does not include hurting another person.

Two of the most common things that cause unnecessary battles are control and fear. Actually they really go hand in hand. Underneath the need to control is fear. So what makes us want to control and how does it show up in our daily life and bring us to battle?

More often than not people who have a need to control were most likely controlled as children. It became a learned behavior and subconsciously they decided that they themselves would never be controlled again. When they feel the least bit of fear that they are being controlled, they attack in order to gain a false sense of regaining control. Another instance occurs when feel out of control in some area of life so try to control other areas to compensate…no matter how petty or small.

When we find our anger is indeed unwarranted, such in the case of “spilt milk” or “small stuff,” we can step back and ask ourselves what are we trying to control in this situation and why or what are we afraid of.

Another common reason for unnecessary battle is our ego’s incessant need to be right. We just have to prove our point and make sure we are victorious in convincing other people we are indeed smarter, more knowledgeable and worldlier than they are. This is a common affliction of the human race. It takes a great deal of control to actually let go of the need to be right, whether or not we are in fact right. Try asking yourself:

  • Is being right more important than being kind?
  • Is being right more important than fostering a healthy and loving relationship?
  • Is being right more important than another person’s feelings?
  • Is being right more important than your child’s self-esteem?
  • Is being right more important than your own peace of mind and heart?

Next time you find yourself armoring up for battle, catch yourself and see if it’s really worth it. It is most likely a battle not worth fighting and everyone will lose. Is what you are about to go into battle for really going to matter tomorrow or a week from now?

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