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This week’s topic came to me when someone reminded me of the great quote “You do not need to attend every argument you are invited to” (unknown). Though I so agree with this, it seems we don’t always think we are at choice when statements, attitudes and deeds offend us and we react strongly to them. We likely don’t think either that some may not necessitate a response at all.

That is, in reality we often react to things that provoke us before we consider whether our reaction is justified, whether our perceptions and assumptions are askew, or whether we need or even want to engage in a conversation in the moment, or at all. Even if we perceive someone is purposely offending us, we are at choice about how and what we perceive, and about whether to respond and how, if we do.

For this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog, consider a time you reacted to something someone said or did and you realized, afterwards, that it was unnecessary and you could have chosen not to react.

  • What did the other person say or do to which you reacted?
  • What compelled you to react, do you think?
  • What did you sense was being threatened, undermined or challenged for you at the time – by what the person said or did – or how she or he acted (attitudinally) toward you?
  • If you became defensive, what were you defending?
  • What do you think the other person intended?
  • What made your reaction unnecessary, now that you consider it?
  • What choices did you have at the time that might have been more productive responses?
  • What precluded those responses instead, do you think?
  • What sorts of arguments are necessary for you to engage in, as you consider this topic? Which sorts of arguments are not necessary to engage in?
  • How might you make a different choice in the future when provoked but you know it’s an unnecessary conflict?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

(Popular- from the archives)

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