How To Stop Arguing? – Part 3: By Dr. Ram Chandran

Resolving Arguments And Problems

Problems are best resolved when we agree to discuss these together in a creative capacity to find useful insights that can benefit all parties.

Creativity is only possible when we conduct our discussion that avoids escalating patterns of polarization. Arguments can only be effective if and when we force ourselves not to get caught up and trapped in the right/wrong paradigm.  An agreeable resolution will become feasible when the “right/wrong” paradigm gets transcended.  If this doesn’t happen within a reasonable time, we should be wise to put off our discussion and observe silence for few days until we cool down.

We should take this time to train our mind to agree to listen to each others’ points of view and look for a resolution that provides more insights.

How do we get out from the trap of the “right/wrong” paradigm?  This is not easy and we need the will-power to invoke the divine nature and open our mind to listen. We must determine to take a stand that our care for the others is much more important than the cheap payoff of winning the debate.

We must be willing to reach for something more fulfilling than the predictable mediocrity of proving ourselves right.  And we need to have the courage to be the one willing to make this change, even in the face of those who desperately want to prove us wrong!  When one of us rise above the right/wrong paradigm, the length of the pole will become smaller and ultimately the argument will likely end.

No matter how much someone else wants to “win,” if we refuse to enter into the world of right and wrong, we will not get trapped in any argument.  But we should recognize the fact that we cannot rise above this paradigm and avoid an argument if we entertain the thought that the person is wrong.   If we do, we will likely back in that right/wrong world again.  This is tricky and it is a bit of a paradox.  No amount of wanting an argument to stop will ever stop an argument, if our inner mind silently engages in judging the other person’s intentions.

We must take a stand that we will no longer participate in any endeavor that tears down others’ beliefs and thoughts.  When those who want to fight can’t find a willing partner, they will be left only to face themselves.  The argument will slowly disintegrate we will no longer be engaging in the losing game of arguing.

Let me conclude this with a prayer:

Sarve Bhavantu Sukinah,
Sarve Santu Niraamayaah
Sarve Bhadraani Pasyanthu,
Maa Kashchid Duhkha Bhak Bhave
Asatoma sadgamaya
Tamasoma jyotirgamaya
Mrityorma amrutamgamaya
OM Shanti Shanti Shantihi

Oh Lord! In Thee May all be Happy,
May All be Free From Misery
May All Realize Goodness,
May None Suffer Pain

Oh Lord! Lead Us From Untruth to Truth,
Lead Us From Darkness to Light
Lead Us From Death to Immortality,

OM PEACE!  PEACE!!  PEACE!!

How To Stop Arguing? – Part 2: By Dr. Ram Chandran

The Desire to “Win The Argument”

Our desire to win an argument is embedded in our survival instinct. For many people, losing in a situation is truly a traumatic event.  When life is viewed rigidly, options are seen as mutually exclusive. For someone to win, another has to lose.

In general, in an argument we like to take positions that are usually opposite to each other.  While engaging in an argument we tend to think that we are always more “right” than those who take a different position. Arguments arise when we are not willing to consider others’ position as potentially being valid.

This is what is known as the right/wrong paradigm. The right/wrong paradigm can produce three possible outcomes: (1) proven right, (2) proven wrong, or (3) avoiding to be wrong.

While there may be a short term feeling of satisfaction when we think that we have convinced someone else is wrong, arguments rarely will lead us to long term gratification.

Everyone in an argument wants to be “right” and tries hard to avoid being “wrong.” This may explain why no one is actually listening.

It is inevitable that we like to choose one of these two options: We either feel obligated to forfeit our position, or we refuse to give in and will fight harder and harder.

The first option leads to resentment because though we gave in, we are not totally convinced of the other position. The winner also feels at a loss because the winner also was not fully “convinced.”

The second option leads to “polarization,” where two opposing parties find themselves in an egoistic self-fulfilling vicious cycle and take shelter at opposite ends of the “pole.”  The more one party insists on a position, it encourages the other party to fight harder to be right and to resist being proven wrong.

After several cycles of this polarization, arguments escalate and can become hurtful. This is when people say and do things they later regret.  There is certainly no winner here.  In the world of “right/wrong,” there will be never any real winners.  And if there can be no real winner, then why should we choose to get involved in a losing game?

Ultimately, we need to reflect on our desire to win an argument. Sometimes we can win an argument but lose our harmony and peace of mind. What to do?

Read Part 3!

How To Stop Arguing? – Part 1: By Dr. Ram Chandran

Editor’s note: This exceptional three part article was written by Dr. Ram Chandran, one of the co-founders of the Advaitin List. I believe the article can be of  great value to friends, co-workers, and lovers who find themselves arguing over many things. I have edited the original version only slightly to bring out the essential points of the articles which apply to all aspects of life.

How To Stop Arguing?

Friends, are arguments with your spouse, co-workers, boss, your girl friend or boy friend, or your parents disturbing you? Are you and your neighbor getting into heated discussions on who worships the true God? Whatever the reason for the arguments that have taken away your peace of mind, help is on the way!

Here is a partial list of argument stoppers that we can all employ on a daily basis when facing potential conflict in a conversation.

1. You may be probably right.
2. What you have said is certainly one way of looking at it.
3. I am more than happy to take your point into consideration.
4. I want to take little more time and I do plan to get back to you.
5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I respect what you have said.
6. Let’s postpone and talk about this when both of us are calm.
7. I am able to see the subtlety of your thoughts.
8.  I have come to the conclusion that arguing just isn’t worth it.
9.  Let’s respect each other’s position and agree to disagree.
10. Our opinions may differ but we can gain more by listening.
11.  There is some validity to what you are saying but we need more information to make a decision.

Of course, there are many more ways as well. Please share your favorite argument stopper line.

Keep in mind that most life situations are more complex. Constant arguments with a friend, spouse, lover, parent, neighbor, despite your sincerely wanting to stop may indicate more basic problems in the relationship that have to addressed. Unfortunately, there are no simple solutions.  Still one can adopt the attitude of good will and doing what is in the best interest of all concerned.

Now read Part -2!