Speak in anger and you will deliver the greatest speech you will ever live to REGRET! Winston Churchill
The airwaves today are filled with pundits and experts who constantly badger, butcher or blow up anyone who might disagree with their point of view. While this might be entertaining talk radio or night time television, it has produced a horrible precedent for dealing with people in general.
Many have come to believe that silence is weakness, that calmness is cowardly and that you must engage in a tit-for-tat exchange of point and counterpoint, claim and counterclaim to compete and survive in any relationship. If an unwanted fire has broken out the last thing you want to do is throw gasoline on it. Yet many seemingly cannot resist the urge to throw their last bit of fuel on the fire then spar, thrust and parry back and forth long after the source of problem has been left behind.
Often it is the preservation of ego which keeps us engaged in verbal combat, somehow believing that having the last word will win the day. Learning to check your ego at the door and determine what truly matters most is key, not only to success, but to happiness and peace of mind. Whether speaking to someone live or going back and forth in email, you must ask yourself if the messages you are about to speak or send are going to move the conversation, and more importantly, the relationship, forward or whether they will simply fuel more anger and angst. Winning a verbal battle at the expense of a relationship war is never wise.
General Robert E. Lee was once asked his view of a man he had had many disagreements with. Lee responded that the man was a good, just man, who he happened to disagree with greatly. The questioner then stated that the man in question did not hold such a respectful view of the General and often expressed that negative opinion to others. To which General Lee replied, “You asked me my opinion of him, not my view of his view of me. My view is the only one over which I have control.” The way you communicate with those you disagree with speaks volumes about who you are as a person. Petty, personal attacks never produce positive results and often keep us a safe distance from real solutions.
Be ware of your emotions and your ego, especially in the highly volatile arena of interpersonal communication. Silence can be strength, a kind word can carry a conversation, stepping away can be the best step forward. Words have weight and their impact is immense – so choose them wisely, use them with caution and whenever in doubt – don’t!
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