“I get that way sometimes. I assume that my way of doing things is right, or I wouldn’t have picked it in the first place… I have to send a red flag up whnever I find myself in a difference of opinion with someone else. My default response is to strategize all the ways I can defend my position and prove that I’m right.” “One of the most useful phrases I’ve learned to use when occasions like this aris is, “Help me understand why you feel the way you do.”
Exercise #24: Cultivating Humility
The next time you feel tempted to line up all your arguments and blast another person with the evidence of how right you are, try instead to ask first, “Help me understand why you feel the way you do.” Then, if you end up being right after all, you can preserve the relationship and have your opinion supported openly rather than accepted grudgingly. And if you were wrong… well you just dodged an oncoming train!
The worst is being seriously ticked about something, marshaling your arguments and then realizing you were wrong, but being too angry and/or proud to back down at that point. That would be me during a bad disagreement. While I’ve gotten minutely better at stopping to think or count before I blow, now I’ll add to that brief pause the request for help to understand. Even if I’m not really listening at first perhaps it will be enough of a breather for me to rethink why I’m bothering to argue in the first place!