“Just because we disagree with someone, it doesn’t have to become a heated exchange. Staying mindful during an argument allows us to choose conversation, discourse and debate in ways that do not escalate the situation.” — Holly Duckworth, a speaker and executive coach who focuses on mindfulness.
First, begin with yourself. Ask yourself how you relate to the person or topic at hand. Check in with your body. Ask yourself what you’re feeling — unease, frustration, fear, pain and anger? Whatever it is, just note it, allowing yourself to be in it. Pause, breathe and return to your center to become clear about your intentions. What it is you are arguing for or against? What outcome are you hoping for? Can you release the attachment to that?
If you are upset, try to calm down and cultivate a kind and accepting attitude. Your disposition can change the tenor of a conversation in an instant.
As a first step toward defusing the argument, try to agree on what it is you are trying to resolve. Many arguments can be avoided altogether when we realize we were never talking about the same issue to begin with, or it’s simply not something worth arguing about.
When you exchange or express diverging or opposite views, try to do so without coming across as angry.
If the disagreement persists, speak your truth even when it’s hard. Speak your truth without fear of judgment or retribution. Respond from the heart first and the head second. Remain calm and try to be respectful of the other person, even if you deeply disagree with his or her position. Keeping an open mind may help you to find a peaceful resolution.
Lastly, be thankful for the experience. Even when an argument is uncomfortable, it can help us grow and learn about ourselves.
As appeared in the New York Times.