Clinton and Trump have been all over the news with debating turning into feuding. Self-respect, integrity, professional courtesy all goes out the door. What does it mean to disagree with someone, and how do you do this without losing your dignity and causing injury to others?
Is it really your argument to have?
You may have a difference of opinion with someone, but does it really mean you need to speak out about it? Work out what you feel about the issue – is it mild irritation, or is it a sense of injustice? Work out what you think about the issue – is it something that is about shaping each other’s thoughts? If the discussion about the disagreement does not bring about clarity or mutual growth – maybe walk away from it.
Disagree but do not Disintegrate or Detonate
Disagreeing with people can lead to high-rising emotions, which ultimately may not benefit your own well being. Check on your emotional barometer. Are you starting the conversation with your blood pressure rising? Or is it at a calm level. This may make the difference between shooting a missile, and volleying an objective contribution. Making sure the disagreement does not lead to a personal attack will ensure not only your dignity, but also bring the highest chance or retaining a relationship that might be valuable.
Mind your language
It might help to script out what you want to say. Write an email and save it in the drafts folder. Sleep on it. Write down a couple of versions of what you would like to say about an issue to someone, and then narrate it out loud – in front of the mirror. This way you hear what you sound like, AND you get visual feedback on all those non-verbal cues as well.
Stick to the facts
Maintaining objectivity means sticking with what you know, and admitting what you do not know. Not only will this help you keep your dignity intact, but it will also help you be more credible and believable. When you are that person with plenty of well-supported arguments, you might deter fruitless conversation in the future.
When in doubt, walk away
Sometimes it may be the season to walk away. Agree to disagree. Or seek to understand more than to rebut. Using a different emotion – curiosity, a sense of adventure can also help to diffuse negative emotions from bubbling away, making it easier to walk away with a nugget gained, than an ammunition shot.
Valerie Ling, MClin Psych, BA(Hons), MAPS, Clinical Psychologist has a passion for helping people find their voice and continue to write their life’s story. Committed to prevent burnout and empowering individuals to life an effective life, she is the Director and Founder of The Centre For Effective Living.