A letter writer feels that she’s too argumentative, and she wants to change.
It’s good to stand up for what you believe in, says our elder. How about channeling your stubbornness to lead by example?
Hey, I tend to be a bit stubborn. When discussing character flaws, everybody I know suggests stubbornness as my biggest flaw and I understand why. I have my opinions and I stand by them, often to the point of accidentally causing others upset because I find what they’ve done to be morally wrong and I don’t lie to them about that. This is made somewhat worse by the general consensus that I’m good at arguing, I tend to be very good at making my point seem infallible by responding to every point being made against it — sometimes even when I have realized that I’m wrong. The funny thing is me being right rarely makes the situation any better and it makes a lot of my relationships quite tense and volatile. That’s not to say I don’t change my own ideas over time or that I think I’m perfect — I’m well aware I sound arrogant as hell and pretentious to boot, for example — but I do need help. I don’t feel like I can stop myself having opinions, or from being honest on my opinions but I don’t want to hurt people and I don’t want to spend my life fighting those I love and trust. I can’t give up my morals but I know there must be something in my behavior I can change to make my friendships calmer. Any advice on how would be appreciated, thank you.
There is nothing wrong with having morals and standing up for your beliefs. These days, it is not easy to stand up for what is right, and I commend you for your ability to do so. I do have some things that might help, however.
My dad used to say, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Sometimes being blunt is needed, but most of the time you can suggest better options to people. Add to your daily vocabulary (and practice in front of a mirror) things like, “Maybe it would be better if . . .”, “There might be a better way to . . . ,” or, “Is there a better option?” You will be able to get your point across without arguing.
How you live your life is the best example for your friends and family of your morals. Lead by example. Live a good life with morals, decency, and kindness, and you will show others how to do the same. Arguing will only show them that you know how to argue.
There is a time to be stubborn, and it will serve you well. The time to be stubborn is when you are facing peer pressure to do something wrong. That’s the time to let your stubborn sideshow. At other times, if it does not directly affect you, suggest better options and then let others make their own choices. We are all here on this earth to learn and to make our own decisions.
A very wise leader was once asked how he was able to keep the people he was in charge of doing good and living good lives. He said, “I teach them good principles, and they govern themselves.” The best way to teach good principles is to live those principles. They will see the good that you do, and the joy that you have, and they will want to emulate that in their own lives.
So, kudos for having a stubborn nature. You just need to learn to channel that stubbornness into leading by example instead of arguing. Arguing only causes contention.
I hope this helps. If you have questions or problems in the future, please write to Elder Wisdom Circle. If you feel so inclined, please tell others about us.
Letter #: 433199