There is an article I keep in my desk drawers at home. Entitled ‘The Twelve Commandments for fighting dirty' 1 ; each of these commandments are the opposite of conventional wisdom for managing conflict when we have disagreements wtih people.
The commandments are;
1. Always blame the other person. Never assume any responsibility for what has gone wrong.
2. Don’t listen to the other person’s point of view. Talk over them, or when they are speaking, use the time to plan your next attack.
3. Always brood about it it and get it out of perspective. Never raise the conflict issue until you’ve had plenty of time to plan how you will exaggerate and distort it.
4. Be manipulative, eg, sulk, pout, give the silent treatment, have a temper tantrum, etc. The false use of tears is particularly effective.
5. Always aim to crush the other person’s self-worth and confidence by being sarcastic, critical, or sniping. Always use as many put downs as possible. Don’t forget to roll your eyes and tell them they’re stupid.
6 Never stick to the point. Bring up the past and use whatever you can to add fuel to the fire.
7. Always attack in the heat of the moment. Do not give yourself or the other person time to cool down.
8. Always aim to embarass the other person. Fighting in front of others works well.
9. Deliberately misundestand what they say, and never give any feedback.
10. Always aim to be dominant. Raise your voice and make sure you get in first.
11. Be a ‘know-it-all’. Never allow yourself to be corrected, and never, never compromise.
12. Always have the last word.
Apart from making me laugh, these remind me that in life, I do have the power to decide how I react when in situations where there is confilct.
Is this not just as true in how we choose to deal with the mistakes that we make?
Life has its share of frustrations that we cannot avoid even if we do all we can to do so.
It is normal to feel regret about things that we wish we had said, or could have done better.
The car breaks down, upsetting our schedule for the day whilst we wait for it to be fixed.
We put ourselves down for being clumsy when we accidentally trip over sometning. We burn the meal that we were asked to cook for the family, and berate ourselves for being careless. We can be hard on ourselves when we fail at things, like missing out on getting an interview for a job after puting so much effort and energy into our application.
Someone once said that we should never put ourselves down. This is because when we do, we are contradictiing God who made us fearfully and wonderfully.
Even if we cannot always avoid failure in life, we can chose how we handle it. May our mistakes bring us closer to God, and let Jesus use them to teach us and grow from our experiences, instead of wallowing in disappointment.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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