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How to be less conflictive


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Old 22nd October 2017, 8:07 AM   #1
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How to be less conflictive

I have always been a very direct person. Somewhere between introverted and extroverted, pretty well liked, but also very straightforward and sometimes too much. My father is the same way, I guess I kind of inherited this behaviour. Through my young age and adolescence, I always reacted pretty abruptly at percieved injustice. For example, there was a bully in my highschool class and I was one of the only people that stood up to him, but this kind of events got me a bit socially isolated. I learned very early the social dynamics of the world where nobody wants to be "that person" that points to some kind of injustice or turbulence. But I ended up being that person. This made me question my self-worth a lot because, of course, people don't like this kind of conflict situations. I know that many times I could have done better and be more cooperative, but well, that's just the best that I could do at that point in time.

Fast forward to today, I have a great group of friends and am well liked in general. I succedeed in my carreer and moved countries, which gave me a better insight in other ways of living and helped me be more understanding towards different lifestyles.

However, I still have this sort of teenage angst inside me at percieved injustice and I tend to gave little patience and think too much in black and white terms when having a conversation about a topic where I disagree with the other person. I get too judgy and people even told me that I make a stone-cold face and that sometimes my seriousness gets a bit scary (in terms that I don't project warmness and friendliness). The funny thing is, when I make a serious face, it has nothing to do with what I think inside. It just looks like that on the outside. You could say I kind of don't put much value in social niceties, it tires me. For the other part, they also told me that I am a great "psychologist", that I helped a lot of my friends go thorugh some major crisis, so I conclude that I do have a heathy level of empathy.

Now, my friends understand me and I never had major problems with them. They always laugh and say that I have a "lot of character". But I know that this affects my work relationships and relationships with new people I meet. I have been very sad about this lately because for the last years I tried to "fake" this warmness and be more like the others, more agreeable although inside I don't feel that way, but it really doesn't come out naturally.

I would love some advice on how to calm my mind down and not be the "brutal thruth" person, the judgy person, the no-social-nicities person etc. I am generaly happy with my life, but I think I should work on this issue more.
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Old 22nd October 2017, 8:22 AM   #2
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The truth is we all die. Everything else is perception and perspective and interpretation. We like to think we're omnipotent and the supreme authority on all matters but we're not.

A wise person once asked me 'do you want to be right or in a relationship?' It took awhile for that to sink in and dispose me of linear thinking.

Usually age and life experience work things out. We each find the healthy balance for ourselves regarding being true to ourselves versus fitting in society and groups. It's an imperfect process because we're imperfect beings.
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Old 22nd October 2017, 8:30 AM   #3
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I probably was like you growing up, and was outright told that I was arrogant. And in retrospect I was. On one hand it is good to stand up for what you believe in, yet in the end those are your personal beliefs, they are not absolute. And looking back I can see that I was wrong on more than one occasion, because I was too pigheaded to look at the alternatives or accept them as equally valid.

I think with many people this type of modesty comes automatically with age, realizing one's hubris after having to accept that reality as we perceive it is very subjective and very limited by out own knowledge and wealth (or lack thereof) of experiences.

It helps me to consider whether a particular issue is "a hill to die on", meaning whether it is important enough to be right, to fight it out, or if I should save my energy for something else. This is even more important as you reduce the impact that you have if you become combative at every occasion.

Yes, making me question whether a particular issue has an impact worth my time and effort, rather than responding from an emotional perspective or to save face, made this a whole lot easier.
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Old 22nd October 2017, 9:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by CptInsano View Post
I probably was like you growing up, and was outright told that I was arrogant. And in retrospect I was. On one hand it is good to stand up for what you believe in, yet in the end those are your personal beliefs, they are not absolute. And looking back I can see that I was wrong on more than one occasion, because I was too pigheaded to look at the alternatives or accept them as equally valid.

I think with many people this type of modesty comes automatically with age, realizing one's hubris after having to accept that reality as we perceive it is very subjective and very limited by out own knowledge and wealth (or lack thereof) of experiences.

It helps me to consider whether a particular issue is "a hill to die on", meaning whether it is important enough to be right, to fight it out, or if I should save my energy for something else. This is even more important as you reduce the impact that you have if you become combative at every occasion.

Yes, making me question whether a particular issue has an impact worth my time and effort, rather than responding from an emotional perspective or to save face, made this a whole lot easier.

I agree with this. It reminded me of a book called Wonder by RR Palacio. It is soon going to be a movie. I will always remember a quote from it. "If you have to choose between being right or being kind, always choose kind."

Choose your battles wisely. By the way that is a great book. All adults and youth really should read it.
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Old 22nd October 2017, 9:22 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by CptInsano View Post
I probably was like you growing up, and was outright told that I was arrogant. And in retrospect I was. On one hand it is good to stand up for what you believe in, yet in the end those are your personal beliefs, they are not absolute. And looking back I can see that I was wrong on more than one occasion, because I was too pigheaded to look at the alternatives or accept them as equally valid.

I think with many people this type of modesty comes automatically with age, realizing one's hubris after having to accept that reality as we perceive it is very subjective and very limited by out own knowledge and wealth (or lack thereof) of experiences.

It helps me to consider whether a particular issue is "a hill to die on", meaning whether it is important enough to be right, to fight it out, or if I should save my energy for something else. This is even more important as you reduce the impact that you have if you become combative at every occasion.

Yes, making me question whether a particular issue has an impact worth my time and effort, rather than responding from an emotional perspective or to save face, made this a whole lot easier.
I agree with this. It reminded me of a book called Wonder by RR Palacio. It is soon going to be a movie. I will always remember a quote from it. "If you have to choose between being right or being kind, always choose kind."

Choose your battles wisely. By the way that is a great book. All adults and youth really should read it.
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Old 22nd October 2017, 2:40 PM   #6
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Im like that too. The only thing that has 'mellowed' me, is just learning to let things go. It is not your responsibility to right all the worlds wrongs or even let people know what you really think.

"Learn to allow others to work out their difficulties without feeling that you are the only one who can fix things. Your ego is pushing you to intervene, while your higher self wants you to experience peace and harmony. Choose the latter" Wayne Dyer

Take the path of peace.
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Old 23rd October 2017, 2:05 PM   #7
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I think it's great that you care about social issues and are real about it! Yes, of course we need to do the polite thing, smile and even fake a fuzzy warmness at work, everyone has to do that, it is just diplomacy and I don't think very many come across super real about it or natural, unless they are a great liar, (it's a good thing that is isn't easy or natural for you)or are delusional or multi personality. We all have our polite face and conversations for work or acquaintances. There is a time and a place to get real and talk of deep social issues, work usually isn't one of them. I think you are doing great, trust yourself. You can't be best friends w everyone, so accept them as co workers or acquaintances and move on if you don't feel like they know you well or like you. I had to get over this too, and sometimes still do. =) I'm a pretty bubbly social person but my adult daughter is not, and both have their place, rightfully and are ok. We need all kinds of people in this world. When you gotta do the niceties, do it to your best, let go and move on. Everyone has their niche. Take care!
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Old 23rd October 2017, 3:51 PM   #8
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When people tell me that there are always shades of grey, my response is that a shade of grey is always closer to either white or black. Thus something is always more right or more wrong.

It's really hard not to perceive "shades of grey" argument as something politicians like to use when they lack solid arguments.
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Old 24th October 2017, 12:20 AM   #9
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When people tell me that there are always shades of grey, my response is that a shade of grey is always closer to either white or black. Thus something is always more right or more wrong.
It's really hard not to perceive "shades of grey" argument as something politicians like to use when they lack solid arguments.
This is a very wise way to look at the world.
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