Why it’s okay to argue
Updated: Nov 24, 2018
Relationships without arguments are not worth living. Arguments are a sign of freedom of speech and emotions in a relationship. This article is about creating a culture of dialogue without the fear of being judged.
Arguments are good!
That's the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you're never wrong. A mature society understands that at the heart of democracy is argument. Anger is never without an argument, but seldom with a good one. Be calm in arguing for fierceness makes error a fault and truth discourtesy.
Every argument is an expression of freedom of thoughts and emotions. We only argue with people we don't fear and living in a fearful relationship is detrimental for both mental as well as physical health of both the parties involved.
10 Tips to have healthy arguments
Arguments if not conducted and handled well can end any relationship. These are some suggestions to start and handle arguments effectively:
Differentiate between discontentment or disappointment and rage: Discontentment and disappointments are the root cause of arguments if not attended to well in time will lead to rage, which is an expression of breaking free. No body wants to break a relationship but we are forced out of it. If you do not agree to something or something that the other person is doing hurts you then you have to speak up the first time it happens do not wait for the discontentment to turn into rage.
Verbalise emotions: We have always been told to hide our true emotions, always show that we are happy and strong. This leads to deception, we start deceiving ourselves which eventually leads to hiding our true emotions from others. In arguments instead of highlighting how we feel we end up attacking the other person through sarcasm or verbal abuse through personal attacks. We need to start verbalising our emotions rather that acting on them. For example: say "What you just said, hurt me" or "That one thing that you do, irritates me"
Don't shout at the other person: When someone shouts at us we panic and in that panic state retaliate. No matter how hurt or disrespected you feel try not to raise you voice. It will only lead to an unhealthy argument.
Don't threaten to walk out: Threatening to walk out of a relationship is non productive and may be perceived as lack of interest or availability of other better options. A lot of times when we threaten to walk out the other person immediately start thinking that we might have been speaking to competition.
Let the past rest in peace: Never talk about what happened in the past, accusing each other about what they said or did in the past will only lead to negative feelings and will more reasons to break apart. Rather than delving in the past we need to focus on the present. Talk about what the issue is right now and how we can resolve it.
Don't bottle up: Short non personal anger outbursts are essential for healthy relationships, if you feel really stuck then you need to go to the balcony, terrace or washroom, and shout your heart out. You can also tell the other person that you are feeling really angry and would like to shout it out so in a way they would know that you are not shouting at them.
Have a method to the Madness: Before taking the plunge, agree on the ways of dealing with the argument. For example: Each person will get about five minutes to share their thoughts, feeling and expectations and the other person will listen quietly without interrupting or making faces. No one will pass personal comments or personal attacks will not be allowed. The focus will always be towards improving the relationship.
Time-out option: The moment you sense the tempers are rising, listening is suffering or the decibels are increasing, time-out, take a break. When we get emotional our ability to rationalise reduces.
Call out an attack: The moment the person passes a personal comment or tries drag you in the past, challenge it rationally. Ask them "Why are we talking about the past?" or "How is this issue connected to what happened in the past?". Sometimes, just to make our case strong we tend to group multiple non related incidents.
Be mindful of your body: When we are angry or threatened our brain releases hormones like Cortisol, which makes us more uncomfortable. The first sign of discomfort is change in breathing pattern. Breathing becomes shallow and fast. Try to take deep breaths while arguing to keep your mind and body centred.
Hopefully these tips will help you get your arguments under control and reduce the level of negative energy in those arguments.
S. A. Hussaini
Breaking Barriers Training