We are bound to get into an argument every once in a while, — whether it’s with your business partner, a family member, a friend, or a complete stranger.
We all possess strong thoughts, aspirations, and opinions that sometimes transform everyday conversations into long debates and hostile disputes.
But while our tendency to disagree may be shared, did you know that everyone has a different approach to handling strong thoughts and emotions, a “fighting style” if you will, that provides us with a glimpse into their mental health, too?
How you and I respond to an argument and the tactics and strategies we use to confront a verbal altercation says a lot about your emotional and mental state.
Since few of us are strangers to the realm of combative discussions, we may be asking ourselves, “Okay, what does my fighting strategy reveal about my inner thoughts and mental health?”
Below, are outlined a list of the typical fighting styles used by individuals when they get into a heated discussion or argument — and what these tactics show about our personality, our emotional state and our self-control.
1. Personal Attacks
Research studies show that individuals with low self-esteem were much more likely to show hostility and aggression toward others when compared to their confident and more secure counterparts.
And nothing is more aggressive or unproductive during an argument than ad hominem attacks on the other person’s character, rather than sticking to the topic at hand.
If we tend to break down our opponent by using the information you know about their character as a leverage point, we may want to stop and evaluate how we would feel if you were in their shoes – if our character was under attack.
When people struggle with self-esteem, they can be their own worst enemy and may pick apart their own character traits and flaws.
That’s why it’s not uncommon for these same individuals to resort to “below the belt” tactics in an argument, too.
2. Accepting Defeat or Faking Indifference
In many ways, those who accept defeat or feign indifference during a fight are the same. In both instances, the individual doesn’t open up their inner thoughts — regardless of their reasoning.
Whether we fear that our argument is invalid, or irrelevant, or we cannot find the strength within us to craft an argument or fight, merely accepting defeat or pretending we do not or will not care may indicate that we think and we believe others may find it difficult to or incapable of understanding our thoughts.
This is a common symptom of depression, as individuals who grapple with this mental illness often seek love — rather than arguments or debates or disputes, simply because they don’t believe they have the emotional energy to surrender.
Whenever it appears that their opinions do not align with those of the opposing party, they may act indifferent or accept defeat in an attempt to feel more loved, acknowledged, included, validated and accepted.
3. The Silent Treatment
Maybe we are the type of person who applies the silent treatment tactic every time an argument or heated discussion appears to suddenly arise before us.
If we have found ourselves on the receiving end of the proclamation of “Why aren’t you saying anything to me?” then we may also be subtly wondering what this says about our mental state and our self-esteem and sense of self-control.
While you may have been called out on your quiet tendencies in the past, it may actually be a good thing we become active listeners whenever a dispute erupts.
There are many benefits to being quiet during an argument, especially when your rival is emotional or loud.
If your natural tendency is to take the silent approach during a fight, it may serve as an indication of sound mental health and that one acknowledges that proactive discussions, resolutions often arise when one speaker remains calm.
Just be sure to evaluate whether we’re choosing to give the silent treatment, as making this calculated choice could likewise indicate we are acting emotionally distant, insensitive and invalidating toward, unto, our “assertive challenger.”
4. Openness and Honesty
Perhaps one of the healthiest fighting styles that indicates a positive mental state is adopting a style which promotes both openness and honesty — offering an open welcoming platform for every party involved in the discussion to speak.
Those who do not communicate openly and honestly may do well to try to learn how to be open, inclusive and welcoming and then intentionally practice them.
An inclusive and welcoming, and open and honest fighting style generally sees the most successful results for both parties at the end of an argument or debate.
Find Your Balance
When we labor and work to establish a sense of respect that lets our and our “opponent” work through the argument with ease, we’ll experience an easier, less stressful time overcoming whatever difficulties or opposing views arise.
Since psychology has long revealed that getting into healthy arguments can be beneficial to our relationships, it’s very crucial for us, as Christians, to develop a constructive fighting style that not only helps us to enjoy deep and proactive communication channels, but likewise enhances a healthy state of self-control.
But why does all of this or any of this matter to edifying the Kingdom of God?
Proverbs 25:28 King James Version
28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
WHY I MUST LET GOD GUIDE MY SPIRIT AND BECOME MY SELF-CONTROL
Self-control helps us to resist temptation and avoid conforming to the things of this world.
It guides our decisions, and it correlates with how we connect and relate to each other and reveals the “things of God” and shows the other fruits in our lives.
For example, forbearance, or patience, requires self-control.
Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
Our sinful nature leads us to give into our temper, but we are called to rise above this and show patience.
Self-control can be applied to all of the fruits of the Spirit in the same way it is applied to forbearance.
Displaying self-control is often a matter of responding rather than reacting.
When we react to a situation, we all too easily let our emotions take control.
We are more likely to become defensive and say hurtful things.
Responding, consistent with the Word of God, however, involves developing a more thoughtful Godly response that is guided by reason more than emotions.
As Christians, our responses to situations are to be guided by the fruits of the Spirit – this devotional covering the Spiritual fruit of Self-Control.
Jesus Christ gives us the perfect example of self-control, because He lived a sinless life and possessed every fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus demonstrated self-control because He was sent to earth to carry out the Father’s will. He was to live a perfect life in order to set an example for us, and in the end, He, in obedience, died for our sins so that we may have eternal life.
In Matthew 26:53-54, Jesus says, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”
Jesus knew what He was sent to Earth to do, and despite his own fears, He demonstrated self-control in submitting to the Father’s perfect plan. Without the self-control of Jesus, we would face death as the punishment of our sin.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
With the Holy Spirit inside of us, we are able to possess self-control and demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit.
As a result, we can live in a way which are both controlled by and honorable to God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
So, next time you are in a tough situation, remember God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the perfect example he gave us of how to live.
While it may seem challenging to demonstrate self-control,
the rewards will definitely and decidedly will be great –
Psalm 103:1-5 Amplified Bible
Praise for the Lord’s Mercies.
A Psalm of David.
103 Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is [deep] within me, bless His holy name.
Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul,
And do not forget any of His benefits;
Who forgives all your sins,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you [lavishly] with lovingkindness and tender mercy;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the [soaring] eagle.
How are we to take David’s three-thousand-year-old Song and make it ours?
Four vital reasons why WE need to learn to let God become our Self Control.
1. BECAUSE OUR FEELINGS OF SELF-CONTROL ARE OFTEN UNRELIABLE.
Our feelings are often far too easily and dangerously unreliable.
They can lead you and me in the wrong direction.
How many times have you and I thought …?
“I just know this is the right thing to do. I just feel it in my gut.”
And you do it and it doesn’t work out. Every one of us have done that.
We have given people motives for doing things, that were not true.
We have had a feeling this person would be a great friend.
We have had a feeling this time we were going to win.
Our feelings are often wrong.
Our intuition does not always work.
Your emotions often lead you down a blind alley with no exit point.
You and I cannot depend on everything you feel.
We do not have to believe everything we feel or think.
I’m telling you the reader; you do not have to accept everything you feel.
Because not everything you feel is right. Not everything you feel is reality.
Some of the things you feel about yourself are flat out dead wrong.
Some of the things you feel about other people are dead wrong.
You say, I’m sure this is the right direction, but it’s not.
So, you and I need to let God do a better job managing our emotions.
Proverbs 14:12 says this “There is a way that SEEMS right to a person, but in the end, it leads to death.”
So, our emotions are not infallible.
Just because you and I feel it so strongly does not always make it 100% true.
Our feelings are often wrong, and they often guide us in the wrong direction.
The second reason I need to let God control my emotions is.
2. BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO BE MANIPULATED.
If you and I don’t let God control our emotions, they will control us, and we will be manipulated by your moods.
If you and I are always 100% guided by OUR feelings, You and I will all too quickly reject the truth of the Word of God, because you and I feel as though something else is infinitely, temporarily more noble, more just or more loving.
If you and I are always guided by feelings other people are going to quickly take advantage of us.
In fact, politicians, salesmen and advertisers are trained in how to stir up your emotions because they know if they can get you hooked emotionally, you are going to buy the message or the product they want to move off their shelves.
So, the emotional bent of the message, the color scheme of the packaging and the music in the commercial and the things that they say in the presentation are all deliberately and intentionally designed to quickly, if not immediately, to get us emotionally involved to the point of saying, “I genuinely need one of those.”
And if you make snap decisions like what you buy based on emotion it’s called impulse buying, you are going to buy stuff that you do not really need or want.
Has anybody ever done this?
Could I see your hands?
We all have!
You go home and you go,
why in the world did I believe that?
why in the world did I buy that?
The Bible says in Proverbs 25:28 – I love this in the New American Bible, “Like an open city with no defenses is the person with no check on his feelings.”
Remember in the days Proverbs was written, you built walls around the city to keep the enemy out.
Otherwise, the enemy just rushes into the city and take whatever they wanted.
Let me show you this verse in another translation.
The New Living Translation says this “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken down walls.”
Not only are you defenseless against the manipulation of other people but you are defenseless to the manipulation of other people by your own old nature.
Our own old nature will maliciously use our feelings to turn us inside out.
It will convince you, “you deserve whatever you feel like having.”
The sinful nature in me, can use my best feelings against me and against the truth of the Word of God for His Children.
We have people feeling as though Jesus was not “unconditionally” loving “all of the people” when he said marriage was exclusively between man and a woman.
So now people feel as though they are being more loving and compassionate than Jesus, by letting Jesus know he was wrong, it doesn’t have to be a man and a woman. How can you and I be more loving or compassionate than Jesus was?
The woman caught in adultery felt like what she was doing was right.
Jesus had absolute 100% compassion on her by telling her to go, sin no more.
Worst of all Satan’s favorite tool in your life is negative emotions.
He will never hesitate to use fear to keep you in bondage.
He will never hesitate to use resentment and jealousy and envy to get you off track from the will of God.
He will never hesitate to use bitterness, worry, anxiety and shame to keep us from growing in Christ.
He will never hesitate to use despair, desperation and discouragement to keep us from confidently, fervently, going to God in prayer. (James 5:13-18)
If you don’t know how to manage your emotions, you are 100% helpless against Satan. Because he so quickly wreaks so much havoc in our lives emotionally.
1 Peter 5:8 says this “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
If you and I don’t have self-control, he will very quickly “eat you and I up.”
The third reason I need to control my emotions because:
3. BECAUSE I WANT TO PLEASE GOD.
God cannot be God in my life if my emotions are “my god in my life.”
God cannot rule my life if my emotions rule my life.
Jesus can’t be Lord of my life if my emotions are the lord of my life.
If I make all my decisions simply based on how I feel, then I have tragically made my feelings my god.
And then my GOD cannot be MY GOD!
The Bible says in Romans 8:6-8 “To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. . . Those who obey their human nature cannot please God.”
So, you and I cannot please God if our emotions dominate our life
and they are running our life and our decisions are made based on;
“How do I feel rather than what does the Word of God say?”
The fourth reason I must let God manage my emotions is…
4. BECAUSE I WANT TO SUCCEED IN LIFE.
This is probably one of the number one predictor of success or failure in life.
Do you and I know how to manage our moods?
Do you and I know how to deal with how you and I feel?
Do you and I know how to control our emotions?
The answer to these questions is unequivocal – “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”
But if you and I don’t learn how to do this you and I will never be the success in life that God wants you and I to be and that, for God’s sake you and I want to be.
Study after study after study have shown our EQ is more important than our IQ.
That for success in business Emotional Quotient is far more important than your Intelligence Quotient.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is a skill that refers to one’s ability to understand, and process, and express one’s feelings, as well as recognise and be able to engage with the feelings of others.
Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be improved. But more than learning about it, it requires a deliberate, intentional effort to be trained by practicing.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
- This skill is essential for building relationships with other people.
- It’s also an essential key to understand yourself and your needs.
- Emotional intelligence can help you handle difficult moments in your life.
- Developing emotional intelligence can help your career because it makes you a more stable and cooperative team member.
That is why, by God’s Grace, we have the Word of God for the Children of God.
A better relationship, also with yourself …
But emotional intelligence not only improves our relationships with others.
By developing a better understanding and connection with our feelings and our needs, we will be able to develop a more balanced life and a good mental health.
Even if it becomes “impossibly” hard to stop our “inner chatter”, through emotional intelligence we can learn from God how to develop within ourselves an inner chatter that is more compassionate and edifying also with ourselves.
A lot of people who do not have a high IQ are very successful in life.
They have got good smarts in dealing with their emotions.
As a result, they are people-people. They know how to get along with others.
I consider emotional intelligence to be a very necessary “Christian” life skill.
Not only does emotional intelligence make life easier, but it also makes it better too.
By intentionally, deliberately, consciously, setting our whole selves in a known difficult environment where you have to rely on other people, we see the Lord and His labors, His Spirit, becoming increasingly engaged in His community.
We’ve all known people who live by their emotions and waste their life. They don’t feel like doing anything relational, so they don’t do anything relating.
How many people do you know, who you have tried to witness to who have ruined their reputation because of their lack of effort towards self-control?
How many people have been kicked out of school, have been sent to jail, have families who want nothing to do with them all because of a lack of self-control?
When you give your heart to Jesus that includes your emotions.
So, when you say, “I gave my heart to Jesus,” you gave your emotions to him to be managed by him.
Because the heart is the seat of your emotions.
Jesus wants to be Lord of how you feel not just what you think and what you do.
He wants to be Lord of your emotions.
In fact, the Bible says this to believers
1 Peter 4:2 “From now on you must live the rest of your earthly lives [the rest of your earthy lives] controlled by God’s will and not by human desires.”
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
My God, You shaped my whole being, authored my entire life from within my mother’s womb. Yet, the sum total of my life is more “why me?” instead of “the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” I pray that the fruit of self-control will grow in me like a tree of strength. I pray that I will control what I say and do and make them subject to Your spirit. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Alleluia! Amen.