Friday, October 23, 2009

Know Thyself... and be less angry!!

Why do we feel infuriated when we disagree with our partner over important issues in our relationship? When we disagree, why do we instinctively feel that we are right?

When events spiral out of control in our relationship we may become angry. We may feel as though our partner is on the attack. There is frustration and disagreement between ourselves and our partner. We may feel as though our partner is being unfair and unreasonable. Our defenses are primed. We may become unable to keep ourselves in a logical frame of mind. We may succumb to the temptation of playing the blame game.

All these defensive postures are designed to keep us from recognizing what is at the core of our anger. We are feeling vulnerable. We may not be certain that our partner is incorrect. On some level we may doubt the veracity of our position. We may feel that our partner has made their point well and we are too invested in our own position to admit that another possibility exists.

All these possibilities run through our head as we argue and debate our point with our partner. We both feel strongly. We each defend our positions well. We cannot sway the other to our side. At the close of our disagreement we may feel angry. We are entrenched in our position and blame our partner for their inability to see our point of view. But... the same could be said of us. We are at an impasse.

If we are able to put our ego aside, allow ourselves to eliminate blame from the equation we might be able to see our situation in a calmer more centered way. If we were able to view the facts in a dispassionate manner we might be able to avoid the confrontation. Both of those statements sound nice... but we are emotional, feeling, human beings. We can no more put aside our feelings and respond in a dispassionate manner than we can decide not to breathe any longer.

The answer is to recognize what is going on within ourselves... to acknowledge our own vulnerabilities and limitations. To know ourselves well enough to be able to be honest in our self appraisal. If we can accomplish this task we are in a much better position to be rational and compassionate during disagreements.

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