Amusement park rides can be exhilarating and lots of fun for young and old alike. However, disagreements that seem to spin out of control faster than we know what the heck just happened can feel more like a ride in a house of horrors. They often lead to hurt feelings and avoidance of talking about concerns, until a certain look or comment triggers the switch and the ride on the not so merry-go-round of arguing and arguing begins again.
Why do we get upset when someone disagrees with us? It may be because:
- We take a disagreement personally.
- We react to a particular tone of voice and become defensive.
- We react to certain words and go on the offensive.
- We are uncomfortable with disagreements.
The main reason is that we are human, and human interactions can be challenging. Repeated heated arguments over disagreements can frequently be prevented by coping with emotions, yours and theirs, staying in the present, and having a few ground rules about communication.
Dealing with Emotions: Yours and Theirs
For thousands of years, parables have depicted aspects of the human condition. One of these from India tells about three blind men who begin arguing after approaching an elephant for the first time. The first one walks into the side of the elephant and announces, “It’s like a wall.” The second one approaches it from the front, grasping its trunk, and states, “It’s very much like a large snake.” While the third feels the tail and insists it is rope-like.