“Choose your battles wisely. After all, life isn’t measured by how many times you stood up to fight. It’s not winning battles that makes you happy, but it’s how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most, most, most important ones, let the rest go.”
—C. JoyBell C., Writer and Blogger
Ladies and gentlecats,
I’m the first to say that I’m a Ride or Die when it comes to debating.
When I smell any type of nonsensical boondoggle and I know it causes harm to me or someone else, I advocate and will do so loudly if need be. Yes, the debating can involve certain types of politics, but it usually involves me protecting myself and someone else from harm if I deem it necessary.
However, I found that I have difficultly turning off the Debating Society that dwells within me. Even when someone is trying to talk sense into me, in the back of my mind the Committee is writing down counterarguments that rebuts the opponent’s valid or invalid points. The Committee brainstorms with one another like this:
The Committee writes my material when I let them and, no matter how irrational my thinking seems to get at times, I am in the right–especially when I see and sense bullshit. To me, that is being honest and just…
Well, I’m starting to realize that being right and just doesn’t work everywhere. I am beginning to find that I cannot just say what my Committee sees and writes. I find that, depending on where I am, I can’t call everyone out on their boondoggle because it can cost me my standing in the community, my standing in school and my standing in my places of employment. Which means I can’t insult my bosses when I see that they are about generating income through their employees or straight up and flat out inform my professors that I am angry because I don’t understand what they are teaching (I actually said this to one of my research professors and she wasn’t exactly down with that to say the very least). I even found myself fighting people who are trying to help me by regurgitating whatever my Committee writes down.
I even fight entire systems and their rules/regulations. I don’t understand why I have to be civil to cops when they pull me over and give me a ticket. I don’t see why I shouldn’t tell a professor how much I hate research and that I want nothing to do with it. I do not understand why creative people like me are not given the chance to be creative in the school setting. Why are these people talking to me again? But most of all, I fight other people–especially if I KNOW their actions are harming others. I am nowhere near perfect and I know I can never be. But I hate watching people getting manipulated before my very eyes. And not only do I fume over it, I say something about to the point of being harshly direct. Sometimes I will see what I consider injustice and want to slap the taste out of someone’s month like this:
When I get to that point, my SAA sponsor calls it “The Meeka Fight.” The Meeka Fight is one that involves me fighting everything and everyone to the point of getting tired and frustrated. It involves intense ruminating, either replaying past scenarios or playing future conflicts in my mind. Either way, it is all in my head and I am thinking the worst. My Fight has positive attributes because I am advocating for myself in ways that I was never granted me as a child. There is also the downside because I have been accused of finger pointing and harboring irrational thinking. No matter where the pendulum swings, I end up tired and resentful towards the people I have issues with and, while they are sleeping peacefully, I harbor distrust towards them.
I am writing this because almost everyone I know who are recovering addicts of some sort tend to struggle with not choosing battles wisely. When we were out there, we only cared about ourselves and about winning some sort of intellectual pissing contest. The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous (1952) emphasizes that “We [alcoholics] have not once sought to be one in a family, to a be a friend among friends, to be a worker among workers, to be a useful member of society. Always we tried to struggle to the top of the heap, or to hide underneath it. This self-centered behavior blocked a partnership relation with any one of those about us. Of true brotherhood we had small comprehension” (p. 53).
In other words, by letting our Committees do all the writing and not using common sense, people who argue excessively push people away in the name of conflict. And it makes no sense to do that. So what I am learning is that I have to choose and pick my battles wisely. After yet another incident that happened between me and someone else, I learned these important tips:
- NEVER argue with people whom you know are irrational. If this person or group of people are known for being out of their minds, why mess yourself up?
- NEVER argue when you’re hungry, angry, lonely and/or tired. I got into it with a former classmate recently when I was in this state. That day was a shitty one and I let this person bait me into an argument over something that happened a couple of weeks ago. In retrospect, I was not in the frame of mind to talk to anyone and now I know better.
- Ask yourself if it’s the issue at hand is worth debating. Sometimes, people say and do shit that makes no sense and will stand by their decision. What is worse is some of these people are authority figures or have a position of power. Therefore, it is best to hold your peace and either walk away from these people or let them “win” the debate.
- Pray for guidance. There were times when I prayed to Spirit to guide my words. I have a big mouth and I will say ANY type of crazy phrase that comes to mind! But when I have enough sense to give my troubles to Spirit, every word seems to be less threatening and more sound to the other person.
- Don’t argue via Facebook, Twitter, text or email. This is the MOST important tip I can give anyone. Due to the absence of body language and voice influx, people misinterpret what is being said, especially when “talking” about hot issues such as politics and religion. What initially begins as a fruitful discussion will manifest into a no-win, ad hominem internet brawl between people who most likely don’t even KNOW each other, which is stupid (for lack of better terms). So don’t do it!
- WALK AWAY!!! I have done this many times because I realized that I cannot stoop to the other person’s level. There are people in this world who are so out of touch with reality that you really have no way or reason to even speak to them when they get crazy. When this is the case, it’s just best to keep it moving.
Being right all the time is not possible, so why argue with everyone? I’m not saying, Reader, that you have to let shit slide. By all means, speak up when you witness injustice (CopWatch, anyone?). But when you sense that shit is about to get real and you have way too much at stake physically, emotionally and psychologically, then it’s your Higher Spirit telling you to let it go.
Author unknown (1952). Twelve Steps and Twelves Traditions. New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
C. JoyBell C. (2012). “About This Author.” Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4114218.C_JoyBell_C_