Why might we debate and disagree at work but panic and shut up or get defensive with loved ones? In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explain why we find it difficult to disagree and disagree with loved ones, and I share some tips for settling down and breaking the habit.
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5 key topics in this episode
- When we find real or potential discord in certain contexts with certain people difficult, at some level, we find conversations with, say, family, friends, or romantic partners more threatening. We associate these situations with being insecure or being judged. Or we are afraid that what we have to say will be judged and then we will feel “wrong” as a person. It is as if someone disagrees with us or being different is a total rejection of us.
- We use the things we value about ourselves or in life as shorthand for what kind of person we are. When we get identity from our perspective to the point where we feel indistinguishable, we will see even the slightest smell of discord as a rejection.
- We humans are connected to seek and protect our status. We do not realize how social conditioning also means that we perceive people with values different from our own as wrong. It is an underlying belief and an association that different = incorrect = threatening.
- In, for example, a work situation, because it’s our job, for example, to talk or debate, and we don’t necessarily have an emotional investment in those relationships, we say what we have to say. It may not feel as threatening as it does with intimate relationships. That, and we are not necessarily speaking about the same things we could in our intimate relationships.
- If we imagine possible disagreements and differences on a scale of zero to five, with zero being nothing and five being the maximum and asking us to join or talk, not everything is a level five. It is not. We must respond accordingly, otherwise we will continue to activate our response to stress at unsustainable and unhealthy levels.
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