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Let go of Anger to Win an Argument

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"The Art of Wining an Argument"

by Judee Algazi


Having your own opinion is an important step in knowing and having what you want. Having an opinion is healthy and a sign of good self esteem. So why is it so difficult for many people to express differences of opinion without the exchange turning into a heated argument, power struggle or verbal attack. You know the scenario. Someone challenges your opinion and you begin to feel attacked, uneasy, or angry. You either take on the role of a brute and begin insulting and defending your position,  or you start feeling shaky inside and  feel powerless like you did when you were a child. You then wish you had some magical phrase to win the other person over or wish you could avoid the situation entirely. 

For many, an argument may have a deeper meaning than simply expressing a difference of opinion. Many people associate their opinion with their self esteem or self worth. They may feel attacked or take someone else's opinion personally. This type of discussion becomes an argument that becomes defensive while one often feels the need to defend their acceptance as an individual. Frequently, the original issue is forgotten and the focus of the argument begins to revolve around personal needs.

Next time you have a difference of opinion that escalates into an argument ,whether it is with your spouse, your child, your boss, or a friend, stop and ask yourself the following questions.

·         How important is it for me to win this argument ?

·         What is it I really want to win?

·         What am I  really fighting for?

If you haven't learned to set boundaries that protect you, that might make you feel that others are ignoring your needs, and are being unfair  to you or taking advantage of your kindness. The truth is that in order to get the respect you want, you must let others know what your boundaries are. For example, if you do not want someone to smoke in your house, you must let them know it. If you do not want your children to eat in the living room, you must set up these rules in advance.  Sometimes people expect others to guess what their boundaries are which is unrealistic. If you want your boundaries to be respected, it is necessary to take responsibility for communicating your expectations.

Boundary setting can be done in a variety of ways. Be mindful to express your needs and boundaries in a non offensive manner. Also, do not be reactive and wait until your boundary is crossed to finally assert yourself. At that point, you will most likely be very angry and become offensive. In addition, once you set a boundary, it is important to stick to it. For example, if you tell your children that they can not watch television if they do not clean up their room, make sure you stick to your rule no matter how important the program and no matter how they carry on. Or,  if someone is treating you rudely, it is up to you to tell them their behavior is unacceptable to you and LEAVE. Many people don't want to hurt the another person's feelings and  want to keep peace in family relationships so they tolerate disrespect or even abusive behavior. When you are treated with disrespect, it is always you who has to change first, not the other person. When you refuse to tolerate it, the other person is forced to change too. Remember, no one will treat you with respect if you do not treat yourself with respect.

So what do you do?

First, set clear boundaries and express them in a non- offensive way. Understand that it is healthy and a sign of good self esteem  for you, your spouse, your children, your boss etc to have an opinion and it is important for everyone to be able to express an opinion without being offensive or being attacked. Remember, someone else's opinion is not meant to be an attack against you.


angry woman


Second, remember that a difference of opinion is just that. There is no need to feel threatened or angry by another person's opinion. Stay focused on the issue, not on yourself or the other person's qualities. If the argument gets out of hand,  remind the other person of the topic and stick to that, do not accept insults, attacks on you personally or references to past hurts and arguments. If that occurs simply set your boundaries to protect yourself and refuse to continue to discuss the issue.

angry man


Confrontation, arguments, and dealing with difficult people do not have to make you uncomfortable . If you feel that there is something to win or lose in a discussion, then you are probably reacting to your own feelings of poor self esteem and lack of setting effective boundaries. These are the skills that you need to learn so your can  feel stronger and more capable  of  expressing yourself. 

What you need to do:

  • Learn how to establish boundaries to improve your self esteem

  • Learn to  express your opinion without attacking others or being offensive

  • When you are in a discussion ask yourself , " Am I taking this personally; What am I actually  fighting for?

If you feel that you are fighting to defend yourself, your self worth or your self esteem then you are not dealing with the issue at hand, but are dealing with your own insecurities. Bring yourself back to the issue at hand, state your opinion, set your boundaries and let go of the feelings that you feel you are being attacked. Otherwise every discussion you have has the potential to turn into a heated hurtful argument.

Remember: You are in control of your feelings. It is up to you to set clear boundaries and behave accordingly. Everyone is entitled to have their opinion, even if it is different than yours. Discussions about differences in opinions are healthy. They do not need to  turn into an argument that you feel compelled to win to protect your self esteem or self worth. 

If you have difficulty winning your arguments, if you feel hurt and angry, if you feel guilty saying no, you might benefit from Mario's life coaching class on , The Art of Winning an Argument. Read below for additional information.

 Four week classes to improve self esteem are available on Monday or Wednesday nights from 7:00-8:30 with Mario Romero.

" How to win an argument" in our Jenkintown office. Call 215.481.0321 for information or email: mario@naturesoptionsllc.com


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