I have a wonderful friend, who is one of- no, let's say 'the most', balanced person I have ever known. She embraces everything that life throws at her, and with a smile on her face (a cheeky-up-to-mischief grin actually). I could not put a price on the advice she gives, it's invaluable to me.
When I've found myself stressing over a particular problem, there has been one phrase that she has said to me (on more than one occasion), and that is; "Realistically, what do you want to come of this situation and how can you best achieve it?". I've been thinking back to this phrase a lot recently... in fact it can be applied regularly each day. It seems too simple, but it does a few things for me. Firstly, it makes me pause to think, before letting my ego control a situation. Secondly, it changes my mentality from idly complaining, to getting proactive and making changes to make my life happier. Thirdly, the "how can you best achieve it?" part forces me to really try to understand another's viewpoint.
With each time I have asked myself these questions, I feel my understanding of others comes about more quickly (it's amazing how this makes your feelings of irritation just melt away!). This doesn't necessarily mean I agree with them, and that's ok, but that I can at least be more willing to see their point of view. Once I have put myself in the other person's shoes, I find it enables me to think up more realistic compromises. After all, It would be extremely narrow-minded to assume we could alter another's viewpoint to match ours, so we should never aim to 'win'. Eg, in an argument.
A quote from Steve Pavlina:
"In a typical argument, each person tries to prove themselves right and the other person wrong. Of course, we all know what happens in the end — each person only ends up more entrenched in their views, regardless of who seems to deliver the most dominant argument. An argument cannot be won with resistance. You will only strengthen the other person’s resolve. At best you will both leave in a state of stubbornness, but little communication will have actually occurred."
Once I have a good compromise in mind, I then have a think of the personality of the person in question. For example, politely and quietly informing a boot camp sergeant that it upset you a bit when he called you 'weak' will likely have little to no effect whatsoever. By the same token, shouting at a timid individual will probably have too strong an impact on them.
My wonderful husband is a cheeky, lovable so-and-so. A few years ago, it really irked me that although we both worked full-time, it was me that did the vast majority of housework. I desperately wanted to change this, but how? I tried a rota. Of course he found loop-holes, as he did in any agreement of this sort. On the rare occasion that he carried out a chore, it wasn't quite up to standard (he lacked the no-need-to-iron-this-shirt-if-I-hang-it-out-properly skill). So what did I want to come of this situation? Reward or appreciation of what I do would be nice, at least some kind of balance, in a clean home. Realistically? He simply wasn't as driven as I was, he just wasn't bothered, so I couldn't expect him to do a great job, especially frequently. And anyway did I really trust him with the delicate clothing items? Honestly? If him doing laundry made more ironing work for me, I'd rather it not be done by him at all. Hmm, did he fake a bad job? I had to play him at his own dirty (excuse the pun) game.
Now I do all the laundry. That was the compromise. BUT... If he rolls up his dirty socks before throwing them in the laundry basket (I hate that!), they get put back in his drawer and, my favorite bit coming up right here... If he doesn't empty the pockets of the clothes he wants to be cleaned, I reward myself with their contents. That's my housekeeping money (and cotton buds!-ew). But here's the really dirty bit... If he's had a heavy session one evening, his dirty clothes will get a little strewn across the apartment. So early the next morning "Do you want these washed darling?" (I know his answer will be yes) and there's the housekeeping bonus! I'm sure most husbands would avoid any conversation with their wives regarding how much they spent on alcohol the night before, so both parties will keep quiet, the poor (another pun, sorry!) husband too afraid to ask how much, if any, money was left. Luckily for me, as my husband's friends will agree, he often (somehow!) comes home with more than he went out with!!