Words create our reality. Once we put them out there, we can’t take them back. Expressions like “I didn’t mean to say that” or “I was only kidding” come too late.
So why do couples get into needless arguments? Jeffery S. Smith, MD, writes in Psychology Today:
The cause of arguments and fights is a lack of mutual, empathic understanding. When empathy is not engaged, then people revert to a self-protective mode and become judgmental. The result is a bad feeling on both sides and no happy ending.
People want to be understood, not just heard.
The world is full of uncertainty right now, and many people are experiencing the ups and downs of adapting to new ways of living. I’ve had a few emotional dips recently, which took me by surprise—I’m generally an upbeat person.
But William Bridges, author of Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, has some compelling explanations for these ebbs and flows. He explains that change is external—moving from one city to another, for example—but transition or adaptation to change is an internal, psychological process.
Bridges describes three nonlinear phases of transition: endings, neutral zone, and new beginnings. Endings occur with significant…
Friday night. The candles flickered on the dining room table. The just-out-of-the-oven homemade pizza lay on the wooden cutting boards, ready to slice. My wife picked up her glass of red wine. I did the same, and we toasted our good fortune — a roof over our heads, good food, our health, and happiness.
I heard a knock on the front door, “Must be another Amazon delivery. I probably ordered something. They’ll leave it there.” My wife said, “I don’t know. Let me go check.” I heard some voices, and she came back a minute later. “That was the guy…
I stared out the window as we passed the train station. Commuters, all men, with their overcoats, suits, and briefcases, like a herd of clones, stood on the platform, waiting for the train to New York. They all looked the same to a sleepy kid getting driven to high school by his father. I thought, Not for me. There’s got to be more to life than this. I’ll be blazing my own trail.
Typical teen rebellion, maybe, but for me, it was my first moment of spiritual awakening, setting off a chain of events that defined my life. …
We want to believe the world we live in is a safe place. But is it? Ask Dupont. They’ll tell you it is.
But it’s a lie.
The people living in Parkersburg, West Virginia, thought their world was a safe place. In the 1950s through the 1990s, 1,700 of the towns 30,000 people were more than happy to have a job at the Dupont Chemical plant on the Kanawha River banks. Not only was Dupont the largest employer, but they also invested heavily in the town's athletic and arts programs, building their reputation as a trusted corporate provider.
The sirens woke me up, but it was the flashing lights piercing the curtains and bouncing off the walls like angry red-and-blue strobe lights that got me out of bed. I pulled on some jeans, padded downstairs, and stepped into the thick, humid South Florida nighttime air.
There were half a dozen police cars with doors open parked all over the place. Most of the cops were gathered around the house across from mine. A few locals stood around, looking sleepy.
“Someone sprayed that place with a machine gun.”
This was Miami in the 1980s. Pablo Escobar’s cocaine…
There’s a lot to disagree about these days: politics, shutdowns, masks, travel restrictions, vaccines—you name it. And then there are the more mundane disagreements in everyday life, the little things, like setting the thermostat.
Someone wants to turn it down. You want it up. Someone says, “It’s too hot in here.” You say, “It’s not hot. It’s cold.” Before you know it, you’re in a silly argument. None of us need more aggravation, especially right now.
In order to express yourself respectfully and defuse arguments before they start, it’s important to understand the difference between facts, opinions, and toxic opinions.
My heart was pounding—not a good sign. I opened my mouth, and it felt chalky. I needed water, lots of it. My mind was freezing up too. The mouths of the four people interviewing me were moving, but I couldn’t process what they were saying; panic swallowed me up. I stumbled my way through the next 20 minutes. It couldn’t end soon enough.
When the disaster was over, one guy pulled me aside and asked me how I thought it went. How does terrible sound? I mumbled something about involving everyone in the discussion and some other nonsense. …
Before I share what I learned about why we get into arguments, I want to tell you a story. I’m not proud of my behavior; in fact, it’s downright embarrassing to let you know what I did. But it was a wake-up call that stirred things up for the better. Believe me, I don’t always have such a short fuse.
I was watching my 12-year-old son play in a tennis tournament. The kids were playing for rankings, which over the next few years would determine college tennis scholarship offers. You could say there was money on the table.
Evidence of the greeting, “How are you?” dates back to at least 1606. It appears to have been used to convey genuine interest in someone — primarily about their health. Given the life expectancy in 17th century England was just under 40 years old (high infant mortality rates influence this figure), it’s no surprise health was on everyone’s minds.
Over the years, “How are you?” has become a standard courtesy greeting, often used interchangeably with “Hello.” The expected answer is generally, “I’m fine, thanks, how are you?” After the quick pleasantries, we get down to business. …