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Swallowing Pride in Conflict

Recently I saw a quote on this topic by an unknown author and it read: “Swallow your price occasionally, it’s non-fattening!” The metaphor struck me as a good one to apply to many interpersonal conflicts. In this regard, one of the definitions of this idiom is: “To set aside one’s feelings of pride and adopt a more humble or appropriate stance.”

It seems the phrase “swallowing pride” is especially pertinent when we have to be right and take on righteous and self-interested positions. Most situations do not require our adamant adherence to what we believe is the only outcome – to the exclusion of other views and possible solutions. Taking on such a stance, of course, typically leads to more conflict and its unnecessary escalation.

Though I don’t often refer to quotations in this blog, there are a few more I like that are also relevant to this week’s topic and the impact of not swallowing our pride and being more humble. They are (from Quote Garden):

“It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” – Andrew J. Holmes, Wisdom in Small Doses

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.” – Benjamin Franklin

For the Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) this week, consider a dispute in which you are asserting an unwavering position.

  • What is the situation?
  • What are you being insistent upon? Why are you being insistent?
  • What is the other person asserting? Why do you think she or he is being insistent?
  • What about the other person’s position bothers you most?
  • If you were to unbundle something you are holding onto in this conflict that is not serving you, what would that be?
  • What do you think the other person could say or do to swallow her or his pride?
  • If you swallow your pride in terms of not holding tightly to your position, what part of the other person’s assertions could you digest?
  • How would that be for you if you digested your pride (your answer to the previous question)?
  • How might humility figure in to your decision to swallow your pride? What else might help you loosen up on your position if you consider it may be a benefit to do so?
  • How would it be for the other person if you swallow your pride? How might it impact the relationship?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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