Proceed w Caution If You Must_The Argument


Every argument need not be started. Every argument started need not be won and every argument won need not be as if it were won. Every argument is an opportunity to adjust, rebuild or destroy and thus should be approached with these possibilities in mind for it is a sword that can cut many ways. Arguments can define boundaries and note where the lines that should not be crossed are drawn or arguments can slowly erode the foundation causing the relationship to eventually come crashing down.

Arguments bubble up from conflict [conflict is a function of the confluence of opposing ideas, values, beliefs or agendas] and like most things in the human drama, arguments can take on different colors – from the near benign to the violent to the deceptively pernicious.

In an argument, both can win and adjust or rebuild. Or, one can lose and the other win – beware the possible danger for the victor – especially a pyrrhic victory [a victory won at such a high cost that winning really was not worth it]. Lastly, both can lose. If so, then danger is more than possible — it is almost certain. I do suppose, however, there is a fourth possible outcome and that is a stalemate. A few stalemates here and there are probably innocuous but too many can be deleterious because they can amount to an eventual loss on both sides.

Compromise is a term often heard when discussing arguments. It is characterized by neither party getting all [but enough] of what she/he wants. Otherwise, in lieu of compromise, one is left with the decision to dig in one’s heels and stand in firm opposition or simply acquiesce – give in completely and getting none of what you want. But what if even compromising amounts to losing a bit of oneself or undermining one’s fundamental notion of self because the issue at hand is deemed extremely important?

Also, beware of shadow boxing. To shadow box is to argue about one thing when it is actually something else that is the cause for consternation. It is a waste of precious energy and is never productive. But it takes a diligent and honest effort to determine the real issue at hand. In short, is falling off a 100-story building the problem or is it the sudden stop at the bottom that should be the issue?

In any event, most arguments are usually relatively minor in scope and impact but some are malevolent and can spring from the most innocent beginnings. So beware the argument because even the strongest relationships are not safe for even a single argument [depending on the context] can decimate a life-long relationship. Above all, be honorable and fair in victory if victory should occur. For every little victory, unfairly won, can bring with it a small hidden defeat for the victor. When enough such victories have occurred, those defeats can boomerang into one total and over-powering loss to the victor. The victor becomes the loser because the seeds of defeat were planted in each unfair victory.

That begs the question, however: What is fair? Fairness is fluid and amorphous. It all depends on the players and their state of emotions. In other words, fairness is a moving target — a target that tries its best not to be hit. It is like a favorite food; it depends on who is doing the eating.

Lastly, there is the human who chooses not to argue because she has deemed it fruitless and so she quietly yields. The other party incorrectly translates that as successfully reaching an accord that both parties can live with. It could be, however, that she has simply refused to invest any energy in disagreements. She does not want to argue because the other party would bring more heat to the situation than necessary or because she no longer cares enough. Either way, in this instance, not arguing can be as baleful to the relationship as an ugly argument.

No wonder: Beware the argument. If you choose to engage, due so with caution. Count the cost, if you can. For an argument can be like the wind – a gentle breeze or a raging hurricane.

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Published in: on April 12, 2016 at 3:20 PM  Comments (1)  
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