By Vianna Vivante
Do you find talking to certain people exhausting but you just can’t put your finger on why? This can include close friends, family members, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers. I am discussing this issue because there seems to be a constant barrage in all forms of media that we need to pick a side on whatever the issue may be at various moments in time. Examples include masks or vaccines for covid19, political issues and candidates, race issues, and on and on. The list is endless. These topics are causing quite a few heated discussions in social media, work places, with friends and around the dinner table.
It took me several years during my career in law enforcement to figure out why I felt certain people or topics drained me. In time I realized some people appeared to argue about anything just for the sake of arguing or a topic was designed to cause a divide. I tried various techniques to interact peacefully with people that were argumentative and it failed miserably. Once I started recognizing that it really just came down to them needing to be right I found a way to not be triggered or pulled in when talking to them.
This year has definitely introduced many forms of communication struggles with all of the hot topics. The need to be right seems to be an accepted form of communication in our society. If you listen to different points of view, there seems to be a constant state of opposition and it just increases our divide as a human race. People on different sides of an issue truly believe their side is wanting what is best but the inability to listen to different perspectives without becoming angry, insulting, argumentative and even violent is where everything falls apart.
The need to be right....the more I thought about it, I realize every person I’ve ever met, and myself, HAD to be RIGHT during moments of talking about conflicting ideas. But where does this addiction come from? Families are deteriorating over this, riots are coming forth from this, people fume within themselves creating stress hormones that decrease immunity function over this... this need to be right.
It seems that without self knowledge and self actualization, life is directed through the energy of our conflicts! AND conflicts generate a need to be right.
But what is self knowledge and self actualization? We’ve all heard these terms before, and I finally decided to make them personal for me. I know self knowledge refers to knowledge of my own sensations, thoughts, beliefs, and other mental states, so I’ve learned to take a full inventory of all experiences I have had and how they relate to my condition and circumstance. I look at all my relationships and items I want or purchase and examine myself as to how these will satisfy a perceived need or emotional desire. I’m becoming aware of the intersection of thoughts and feelings and I’m taking responsibility for all my thoughts and feelings. I’m getting to know myself!
And what about self actualization? The realization or fulfillment of talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone. For me, I had to break that down into something much more personal and meaningful. I’ve asked myself a series of questions and the answers do change from time to time so I revisit these time and again.
Am I able to achieve my imagined future?
Do I have the things I want and desire within a determined timing?
Am I satisfied with my condition and circumstances?
Do I feel I command the mental, emotional, and physical details of my life?
By knowing myself, who and what I am, I take nothing personally. So when a tough conversation would shift to something a person felt they needed to say to prove their point, I would listen but never take it personally. I actually learned to feel compassion for them because I realized how painful it is to have to be right all the time.
In this day and age, I would have to be a hermit to avoid confrontational topics. So instead of feeling my body tighten up in overwhelming stress, over time I have made the decision within myself to listen with no judgement, realize whatever the person says is a reflection of them and not me, and if I’m hurt by what is said, I forgive them and forgive myself.
Like most of us, I would love to fix the world but my contribution is working on myself and being the best me by knowing myself and what I want in life. This includes being understanding, compassionate, humble, and leading with my heart. I am doing this by learning to love myself more and see the beauty around me every day, smiling more and being polite to everyone. I have noticed kindness is contagious so please join me in this endeavor. We can make the world kinder, one awakened soul at a time.