I couldn’t believe he actually said what he said!
I could feel the shock amidst the anger and hurt begin to rise within me. As I left the room, the reality of our heated exchange began to sink in. Why should I keep wasting my breath? We were both angry, frustrated, and tired of the same old argument…
In this post, we’ll be looking at the following principle:
“You can be right but wrong at the top of your voice”
I’ve recently started re-reading the book “Love & Respect” by Dr Emerson Eggerichs, and I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the key points I’ve highlighted along the way as the basis for a series of articles.
So… here we go!
Missing the Point
When I initially read the principle, “You can be right but wrong at the top of your voice”, I had to pause for a moment and let it sink in properly. The more I thought about it, the more I began to recognise how significant this idea actually is.
My definition of this principle, is that no matter how valid the point you are making may be, the way that you say it can completely counteract what you are saying.
Think about it like playing a game of basketball. If you shoot and the opposing team gets hold of the ball, then you recognise the importance of getting the ball back. When was the last time you watched a game and saw a team give up and decide to go home as soon as the ball was taken from them?
The same idea applies to this principle. If you have something you need to say, think about the point you are making as the ball, and your emotions as the opposing team. When you shoot, or when you are trying to make your point, often your emotions can end up taking over and you end up completely missing the mark. Then, when you try and get the ball back or try and get your point across in another way, your emotions still manage to get in the way. That’s why you find yourself battling to get through to the other person.
When someone feels as though you are attacking them with what you are saying, the natural response would be to defend themselves. This could either be through attacking you in response, staying silent, or removing themselves from the situation.
Whatever the outcome, it’s amazing to think that all of this could have been avoided if you had simply changed your approach.
Learning to talk
I grew up seeing a lot of conflict around me. My experiences taught me that shouting at another person does way more harm than good. As a child, I would internalise any feelings of hurt or upset, and I often found it difficult to control my emotions in situations of conflict.
Although I have learnt a lot since then, I am still learning. I recognise the importance of being able to talk about my feelings. As hard as this may be at times, and as much as my emotions may try to take control, I just keep reminding myself how important it is to talk.
Not to shout or insult the person in the process, but just to talk…
It sounds so simple! But believe me, it’s a process, and a key attribute that many of us fail to address. Even if you need to take some time to calm down before you talk, it’s better to be in the right frame of mind than for your reaction to be based on the surge of emotions.
Within my relationship, I have seen the incredible results of being able to address potential issues without the fear of being attacked. I thank God that we recognise the importance of being completely transparent with one another when it comes to the way we feel, because I have experienced the damage you can do to your relationship by avoiding such issues.
Women especially are prone to acting more impulsive based on emotions. Despite being created as emotional beings, it’s important to also remember that men have feelings too. They may share them in a different way, but it saddens me when I see men treated like punching bags – as though they can take whatever you throw at them without it affecting them, simply because they are men.
The stereotype of a man is a very dangerous one. Men can be just as sensitive, if not more so, than women – they just express it in a different way. The sooner women recognise this truth – the more balanced the approach will be when addressing issues.
The next time you feel the emotions rising within you in response to what someone has said or done. Stop. Take a minute. Just think before you react. As I mentioned before, it’s a process.
I think it’s also important to note that it takes the willingness of both people to create healthy changes in a relationship. When one person is willing but the other person has no intention of changing, it’s almost like trying to row a bout with one oar – you end up going in circles. If you feel as though no matter how hard you are trying nothing is changing, then maybe it’s time to check whether he/she is actually rowing along with you and sharing the responsibility. If they were, you would be making progress, not going around in circles…
Some situations will challenge you more than others and the temptation to bite back will always be there, but recognising that there is a better way and implementing a constructive response will help you to develop a more positive, fulfilling relationship.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”
-Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
I love that the bible can just summarise everything I’ve been saying in one small verse. If you take away anything from reading this, just remember this verse.
Thanks for reading, and we will continue this “Love & Respect” series in the next post. Share any comments on this topic you may have below – it would be nice to know your thoughts!