Does someone ever say something to you that immediately angers you, personally offends you, and you just want to SNAP at them with some clever retort? For about 20 seconds (plenty of time to embarrass yourself) you shove it to them. You know you’re right, you know they’re wrong, so you make your point so strongly and so aggressively that you know they heard you and they sure are an idiot now for even trying to cross you!
Not sure what I’m talking about? Let’s use Mitt Romeny as an example:
Romney knew he was right. He knew that guy was wrong… you could tell Romney was just WAITING for someone to ask him about that 99% of this country. But yes, at the end of the argument he did say, “America is right, you’re wrong.”
This is the first, and perhaps only time in my life Mitt Romney reminded me of myself (a version of myself I don’t like). I remember with my students they would do something and I would get so angered by it… i would talk to them sternly and very defensively, just like Romney does here. But in the end you wind up looking crazy, heated and frazzled. Any points you were trying to make with your stern talking disintegrate in your anger and frustration.
Here’s something I saw while student teaching. We (my mentor teacher and I) reassigned the students seats but one student refused to sit in his new seat. Finally after some coaxing we got him to sit in the seat… nobody was stern, nobody was angered. If i was there without my mentor teacher I might have given him a long winded speech about disrespect, he was acting immature, it was a simple action to sit in his seat, everyone else was doing it. But my mentor teacher didn’t make a big deal about it so I took her lead… I thought that was that.
But at the end of class, when everyone else was getting up for lunch, my mentor teacher went up to him and privately told him “you can actually stay seated for the next 20 minutes, to make sure you remember where that seat is.”
He was caught in a trap. My teacher never was angered but she made her opinion known, this student would sit in his assigned seat. She never acted frazzled, angered, personally offended. If you want to make a strong point… if Mitt Romney had really wanted us to believe that we should unite as a nation and forget the notion of the 99%, then he should have said so in a cool, collected fashion. That is something I could have listened to. I might have disagreed, but I would consider his point a valuable opinion.
The next time someone says something to you that immediately angers you, personally offends you, and you just want to SNAP at them with some clever retort… don’t do it. Take a breath, remember its not a personal attack on you, you don’t need to become defensive. Share your opinion, you want to be heard, but do it calmly, and if at the end they still don’t agree that is ok. Because they might disagree, but they will consider your point a valuable opinion. I think Obama does that and it will be one of his attributes that takes him farthest in this upcoming election.
Note 1: This isn’t meant to be a political post.
Note 2: Yes, I did just give you all advice that I don’t always follow myself… we’ll work on it together 😉