“The more each person can remove his or her ego from the discussion and focus on the subject matter, the more fruitful the conversation will be for all involved.”
We all know at least one person, with whom we have had discussions and fights over the same old topic over and over again. Sometimes, this stretches on for decades, yet nothing seems to change. The topic becomes a festering backdrop of negativity, that starts to poison the entire relationship. This can and should be avoided.
Before you discuss something with someone, look sharply inside, why you want to debate him. A debate or discussion should be a means of open communication, transfer of information and a cooperative search for the truth. If this is not the root intention of the discussion, then don’t discuss at all. Why?
Because, if you’re not discussing for the sake of truth, nor for the sake of the other person, you’re doing it solely for your big, fat ego.
“Discussion is impossible with someone who claims not to seek the truth, but already to possess it.”
Imagine, there were two persons, sitting at a table. They hold very different opinions and neither of both is considering, that their view of the subject might not be the whole truth. Which means:
They both came to this discussion, not to listen, but to talk.
Let’s take the role of one of the persons involved. Since the other person is not listening to us, we ourselves are the only ones listening to our own opinion. Each side holds a monolog while dismissing the other side. This defeats the whole purpose of the discussion. All we do, is satisfy our need to hear ourselves talk.
Why we love debating so much:
Let’s look inside, at what is happening during a heated argument. A strong, righteous emotion comes up. It feels quite empowering. We see ourselves as the guardians of the truth and we have come to conquer the evil followers of the falsehood. This gives us a sense of purpose. There is no longer a single doubt on our minds. Which is great, because doubt feels irritating. (Further thoughts on that at understanding758824845.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/erster-blogbeitrag/ )
What I want to show you here, is that our ego gains a lot from debating others. Empowerd by the righteous emotion, we eradicate unpleasant doubt. Also, by focusing on the shortcoming of others, we conveniently distract ourselves from our own failures and issues. We are not perfect and deep down, we know that very well. But by focusing on the imperfection of others, we can convince ourselves, that there is someone, who is even worse. By turning outward instead of inward, we avoid painful self-reflection. This is an ingenious mechanism of our minds, which is called “projection”. We don’t see our own flaws, only the ones of others. This way, we don’t have to feel bad about ourselves. Neat!
Why others gain little from our talk:
When the mind closes itself off, it is better sealed than a bank’s vault. Everything you say will not reach any fertile ground. The mind really does a marvelous job at this. Even through seemingly obvious facts, you will not reach the other person. The mind will find ways to dismiss and deny you. This is especially true, if we’re trying to convince people through force. For there to be any useful outcome, both parties musn’t hold their opinions too tightly.
Trying to forcefully intrude with your opinion will only make their resistance stronger.
This is especially true, if you are talking to someone with an ideological belief. The belief has become a part of their identity. Trying to shake that belief, will feel to them, like you’re attacking a part of them. This is obviously raising a huge counter reaction.
If you notice their resistance growing, back up. Any further debating will lead to nothing but useless, unproductive conflict, and is a waste of energy. Also consider the following: By pushing someone too far, their mind goes on the defensive. They buy into their own opinions even more, which might prevent them from self-reflecting in the future. So even if you had good intention for the other person, and wanted to give him useful feedback to reflect on, you might cause the exact opposite.
TO-DO for all of us:
The next time you find yourself on the verge of a heated argument, take a mental step back. Breathe three, long breaths. Look inside, what are your root intentions. Look sharply and question yourself. It might be difficult to see clear in the mists of strong emotions. Then consider what i said above, and maybe change your behavior accordingly. This way, it will have a healthier outcome for everyone involved.
By the way, Meditation is a great way to increase your awareness of your inner processes. It will make it much easier to take a mental step back and to stay calm, even when strong emotions are on the rise. I have written a very in-depth guide on meditation, check it out!
Thanks for reading!
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Here are some more links, to articles I deem very important for life.