It’s normal to disagree–we simply don’t all see things the same way, both figuratively and literally.  A great recent example is the whole debate on Youtube about whether a dress is white and gold, or blue and black.  Not everyone in my household saw the same colors, and in the end we all just agreed to disagree.  Same thing happened again this week with a vase that I think is yellow but others see as lime.  Maybe it depends on the lighting?  Who knows, but more importantly, who cares?

After 20 years in the legal industry if there is one great take-away I can impart on all others it would be this: pick your battles.  Not all disputes are worth a fight, which always have a cost.  In fact, if you find that all or the majority of your disagreements with others turn into arguments, then you really need to stop and consider this: how you are going to address this very serious problem?  The regrettable reality is that this issue is an internal one, and not external.

The truth is that until you are at peace with yourself, you will not be at peace with others.  If you feel the need to win every debate, honestly ask yourself why is that?  It is a need to feel superior or dominate?  Does this stem from feelings of insecurity?  Whatever it is that is driving you to always want to crush the opposition, find a way to rein it in because first of all not everyone is an opponent, and secondly no one wins all the time.

If you find that your work or home environment is what is upsetting you, then you need to find a way to change that environment– either try to change the dynamics within or literally extricate yourself from the situation and find a more suitable atmosphere that pleases you.

Realize that not every person or environment that you encounter is going to be open to change.  In these cases you have to accept that it’s not that they are wrong, it’s that you are wrong for that particular relationship or setting.  If others won’t change, you have to let them be and just focus on you.

They say understanding is the enemy of conflict, and I also believe acceptance is the key towards living in harmony with others.  Is it easy? Of course not, especially for those of us that are Type A with perfectionist tendencies.  But do you want to live a life full of conflict?  That really isn’t fun for anyone, unless you are like me getting paid to fight other people’s legal battles and even that grows old.

Learning to live in an imperfect world that is out of your control is a work in progress for all of us, but hopefully with time you will learn to appreciate the beauty in all our differences and imperfections that make humans such an interesting species.  Along the way, just try to remember EAR– and lend those you love your empathy, attention and respect– three essential things that Bill Eddy’s research suggest we all need from those we love.

Hopefully, you too will soon find that not every truth or objection needs to be vocalized.  Sometimes, it is best to just let things play out–but just for the record, in my heart I will always know that the vase in my house is yellow, not green.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.