Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hard, Dude - Backing Down

Imagine yourself in a fight with your spouse.  You are deep inside of it.  Making a point of unbearable importance.

Imagine backing out of your point.  Withdrawing from the engagement.  Sitting down for a few minutes.

Really hard.   Almost impossible.  Because the seething intensity of our cultivation of viewpoints becomes more aggressive, and because we are less and less accurate and more and more willing to engage pettiness, it is vital that we learn to back away from our own convictions, and to re-evaluate them as if we were a neutral third party hearing them for the first time.

What are the steps to that?   Realizing how frothy everything gets is a first.  Right at the moment of blood lust, right then, try to step back and let your pride take a notch down.  Honestly.  Hurt pride is a funny thing, since it is basically totally irrelevant to making a point, and changing one's mind when good evidence presents itself is a way to bolster pride, in the longer-run, not a way to show cowardice.  Rational skepticism isn't bad and doesn't forswear passion and involvement.  In fact, it allows us to distance ourselves from ourselves so the world might be a little bit richer, a little bit more nuanced, even when we're emotionally attached to a position.

Next time you're fighting with your significant other, right in the middle of the fight, pull back and earnestly cede the main point.  Let a few minutes pass.  A cool enveloping calm will snuggle you, I promise.  And so will your significant other.

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