I think it is WAY easier to want to throw stuff, storm out, or pout over some yummy dark chocolate in the heat of a fight. But if my goal is to grow as a person and grow closer to those I love, those strategies don’t serve me so well. (I may be right, but I will be alone. Not my life goal–is it yours?) So here are some things that work for me when it comes to fighting fair…
I imagine a merry go round spinning at a quick clip. It takes work to look the other person in the eye, hold on, and smile in the wind. But when I do, it’s so much more fun than just getting through it…
I desire peace over being right. I want to reach a solution rather than prove a point.
I am willing to experience embarrassment, hurt, or confusion in order to reach a solution. (Even the icky kind that makes me want to get into the fetal position and feel sorry for myself.)
I am willing to admit where I was wrong and where I hurt the other person or people.
I am curious about what wants to happen through the “fight”. (Is there something I am being taught through the experience about the other person or people?)
I can laugh at the ridiculous things that come out of my mouth. Humor and playfulness are helpful in some cases. (But if I use it sarcastically or at the expense of others, it uuuuussually backfires.)
I can leave something be (and sit on it for a while) if it is too much to handle at this particular moment (mutually agreed upon decision). Sometimes time heals better than talking.
If I blurt without thinking or say something terrible and I know it was terrible, I can apologize and call it out as unfair.
I hold tightly to the prospect of resolution. However, in some cases, one victory is enough. If there are two or three things bothering me but the first one takes a while to tease out, I might just table the other two for another day or time.
If I find myself tensing up, I remind myself to breathe and loosen up.
I listen to what the other person isn’t saying but what they are communicating with their body language and tone of voice.
I believe this person can be different this time. I believe each of us can be new in every moment.
I believe that the other person can handle the truth… not the watered down version or the part that is easy to say.
I will just deal with the issue at hand. Broad associations with previous hurts don’t work so well. (Eek!)
I call out the B.S. if it is B.S. (like blaming, black/white thinking) and tease that out. What are you (or I) really saying underneath that?
What is it that is really bothering me? Get clear. Be specific.
Are any of the warriors in this battle hungry, thirsty, tired, or stressed for any reason? If so, I consider postponing or pausing. If I decide to proceed I will do my best to give a bit more grace because physical and/or emotional stress may be at play.
If I fall off the merry go round, it hurts. But I can get back on again. And even an epic fail of a fight doesn’t mean the next one will be the same.
God gave us amazing friends, lovers and family members. The trick is none of us are all grown up yet. Fighting fair takes maturity. Then it isn’t fighting at all. (And making up is so much fun!) I’d love to hear what works for you! Please leave your comments below.