I’m sure you know this situation where you have a fight with someone that you actually care about. You have a fight and you are convinced that you are right and that they are wrong. You are absolutely certain because your point reflects 110% the way how you act, what you believe and what you expect from others. No matter how much you try to put yourself into your shoes, you always come back to the way how you see the situation – your own reality. “How could they POSSIBLY think that?” you ask yourself. Turns out that the other person is in the exact same position. So you fight, argue, hurt each other and your relationship suffers.
And you know what. I’ve been there many times myself. Be it in my relationship with a flatmate or even with people as close as my mom. I’ve been there and I’ve gotten myself into the cycle of arguing, fighting reconciling, promising to change, then doing it all over again.
Last year, after a series of arguments over quite mundane and trivial topics, my mom and I got to a point where we both decided to take some time off. For the following two months, we did not speak to each other. We needed that time off to come to our senses again. It was an issue that had been going on for years with no promise of improvement, and as they say, sometimes dire situations require dire steps.
So… it wasn’t easy at all, but it was much needed. And it gave me a lot of time to think and reflect. At first I ignored the topic – it felt like a relief to not have to deal with it, but as time went by, the urge to resolve this became increasingly pressing. So I started talking to friends, read articles, sat down and wrote down my thoughts.
And in that process, there was one key thing that I realized. I realized that sometimes in life, it’s not a matter of right or wrong. Not an issue of changing the other person. It’s a matter of how much do you care about this person and what you are willing to do/sacrifice/put in to make it work. Even if that means that you have to apologize for something that you don’t think requires an apology. Even when you think you did everything right and that the other person has absolutely no reason to react that way. Persevering on your point of view won’t lead anywhere, so why fight?
This was an important realization for me. One that changed a lot of my behavior from that moment onwards. Yeah, of course, my mom still says things that I fundamentally disagree with, but after everything is said and done, I love her and bearding her would in no way reflect the real feelings I have for her outside that one issue that we disagree with. It’s kind of getting the short end of the stick, but intentionally and gracefully because you know it’s not worth fighting for the long end of it. It’s a form of tolerating something but with no bad feelings, but with feelings of “I’m doing the right thing here.”
At the end, in order to be able to go down this route of acting/thinking/feeling, it’s important to ask yourself how important that person and that relationship is with you. When the answer is “very important,” then you might as well do whatever it takes to make it work!