I had an interesting thing happen to me today. I was basically set up in a reply to something I answered. My first guttural reaction was of course give this person exactly what they wanted so that they could bash me in return. I saw it there; it was only too obvious in its wording. However, I didn’t respond that way. In fact I looked at it for awhile trying to decide just what I was going to do. I didn’t really want to respond to the post negatively or in a way that would just cause conflict. For one, it would be a poor reflection on me as well as someone that’s important to me. One option was just to leave the site and not look bad; but that had its complications as well, and wasn’t really fair to someone else either. I also didn’t want to appear that it was okay to just walk all over me either. But just how was I going to stand up for myself without causing more damage. How to do it without bringing things to a high school level?
Well, I got off the computer for awhile and I started to think about what exactly was the motivation behind the post. Then what is the motivation for me replying to it. Lastly, I thought about what exactly I wanted to get out of replying. Okay so my motivation for replying to the post was easy and really basic human nature; I wanted to stand up when I was called out. Okay so that parts done…now, what did I want to come out of what I had to say. Well, that’s easy…I wanted respect, be able to still be comfortable on the site, and feel good about myself.
I spent a great deal of time thinking about how to say what I wanted without being defensive or attacking anyone. I know that that was the goal of the original poster, and I didn’t want to degrade things to that level. In the end, all I did was defend my original reply. Just a short sentence or two, that not only answered the challenge, but I was able to deflect the trap and walk above it.
Someone gave me some rope hoping that I would hang myself with it; however, I saw the trap and side stepped it. I did this by thinking about what my motivation for responding was, and just what it was I wanted to accomplish. While I would love to say that we should always just walk away, sometimes that’s just not the right answer. Some live in conflict and will love to drag you into it. It’s natural to want to defend ourselves or get out of the situation. But sometimes, it’s better to stay the course and navigate your way through, without having to resort to an actual confrontation.
As satisfying as it may have been to bring things down to a lower level and just give them what they wanted; I am much more proud of myself for taking the time to think about just what was more important to me. Keeping the peace, or see the post after post of ‘who is more right than the other’ in something that there is no real right answer for…well, unless on lives on fantasy island anyway.
So I would suggest to always check just what is your motivation.