While I value peace and serenity deeply, a lot of that is rooted in the fact that I have a temper. In the workplace, I receive a lot of compliments for how grounded I am and how peaceful I am, and I take great pleasure in this. Although part of it is, I am shy, for the most part, it means my hard work has paid off. I have heard many people brag about their bad temper in public, and while I've done it in the past privately, I get both envious and a little annoyed when they do it out in the open. I feel if you truly have a bad temper, you would not be bragging about it. You would be working on it, and you would be very embarrassed by it. I do think some things require energy, such as political movements, not through violence, but through persistence and numbers. On a personal level though, I know enough about life and how it works to know that most things are not worth getting very worked up about. They are worth handling, openly and seriously, but always in a peaceful manner. Before anything else, take a step back and look at what you are disagreeing about. Is it worth the amount of chemistry you are feeling inside? Are there other reasons beyond this argument, that are causing you to feel this way, that also need to be addressed, or is it simply an over-reaction on your part? These are key things to know. I have learned that sometimes, for no reason at all, I get angrier than I ever need to on things that deep down, I know, do not require near that level of energy to problem-solve. Although the issue is still relevant, and still needs to be addressed, I personally need to calm down. It is that simple. And that helps put things into perspective when I am in an argument and helps me to focus on what really matters: solving it rationally. We all, throughout our lives, can use that as a tool, called introspective, when our feelings are getting the best of us!
Rationality and Accountability
That said, not everyone and everything deserves a sweet, sugary, apologetic confrontation either. Sometimes people/groups/corporations need to be addressed, and they need to be handled seriously, because otherwise they'll have no idea of any wrong-doing they did. If you sugar-coat your confrontation, a lot of times what you are trying to communicate will go in one ear and out the other, because your repentance outweighed your communication of the implications of what they did are. Everyone makes mistakes that should be addressed in a serious manner in their lives. That is life. They are not to be excused simply for that reason though. Accountability exists so mistakes will not be repeated. When someone truly feels accountable for a mistake they made, they are far less likely to do it again. That means less hurt is caused. We hold people accountable to make the world a friendlier place, and that always needs to be kept in mind when you are confronting someone. Therefore, if we try to problem-solve by shedding anger on others, we are hypocrites, because we are causing pain while trying to eliminate it. Remember this: You cannot hold someone accountable at all if you cannot be accountable for your own chemistry. You cannot truly hold someone accountable if you are bouncing off the walls, seething with anger, because that is your own problem. You are only causing more hurt, with that type of behavior. You must address issues seriously, making eye-contact, acknowledging them and why they caused hurt, but without expressing anger in an irrational manner. You can say, 'This made me angry,' but you don't also get to spontaneously combust, unless you want to make the issue worse!
Rationality is the only way to solve a problem. If you find you are feeling irrational, you need to walk away and try again at another time, no matter how inappropriate it feels. If the person you are addressing says you are weak for walking away--they are being a bully. This is why people who brag about their temper truly throw me off--I think someone with a really bad temper would be more worried about the other party at that point, than themselves. Keep walking away--in fact if you are facing true anger management issues, you can privately know that walking away is the safer option, not for you, but for the person who said that. You have nothing to prove to someone with values like that. Life is never about being better than. It is about making the world a friendlier place. Be okay with being wrong, be okay with being worse than. Be okay with them believing that, true or not. We cannot ever be right about everything. Nothing ever got better by believing it was always right. Nobody ever improved by thinking every mistake they made was correct, and we all make them, all the time, more than we ever realize. In order to give accountability, you also have to be clear-minded enough to hold it for yourself. Value what is actually important, which is doing good, as best you can, and owning the fact that you make a lot of mistakes all the time.
Others Feelings Are JUST As Important As Your Own
Something I realized I have messed up on is, half the time, I have subconsciously only been remembering a part of the equation. I have been holding mantras like this, 'Stay calm, handle this calmly, life is short, be peaceful,' for years now. It is something I really value because life cannot be enjoyed and appreciated unless we are calm. However the other part of this that you need to really remember and value is that, even when someone disagrees with you, even if their values are completely convoluted, even if they are so wrong, it almost burns you inside (lol), they STILL have feelings. And those feelings are to always be valued before anything else, because if you cannot remember that the people behind the wrong-doing/saying have feelings--you've got no business addressing them. The point of any confrontation is to do more good than harm. For most things in life, you are not in a war battalion. You are not curing cancer. 99.9999% of the time, you are disagreeing on every day things, and you don't fight poison with poison. Most people you meet are innately good, no matter how they came to the conclusions they did, right or wrong. You not only need to stay calm, but above all, you need to have respect for others feelings and well-being. That comes first.
Another thing to remember is that if you do not trust people, you cannot truly like them. As a woman, I think we can have a difficult time of this when it comes to trusting men. We have so much adversity against us, as the physically weaker sex, and often, for whatever reason, when this fact is taken advantage of, we are not believed. Bad people take advantage of weaknesses--that is what they do. Even as someone who has been lucky enough to have never faced anything past superficial harassment (like a butt grab--have not met one woman who has not experienced that), I still catch myself walking around in public and worrying about my safety, being extra loud and aggressive with how I walk and unapologetic if I accidentally do something mean like cut a man in line. It's not that I hate men, but I'm worrying about my safety. Yet, if we take that further and we do not trust others, we can never really like them or appreciate them. If we do not trust the people or environments around us, we can never really enjoy them. Because the worry, the what-if, is painful in itself. It's there, it's pressing at us, it's reminding us we have to be on guard, and if we are working to be on-guard we can never truly relax. We need to remind ourselves, most people are good. For every bad person you meet, there are three more that would love to kick that person's ass if they physically hurt you. We have to trust and believe good in others exists in order to keep maintaining good. If we do not believe that good can exist in others, we will not even attempt to do anything to please them. We will not think of their feelings. We will be too worried about protecting ourselves from their perceived evil. And that is sad. So it is very important to trust and believe that others are innately good, and by having respect for yourself as well as them, we can all guide each other into making the best decisions for ourselves, our environments, and therefore the world.