I often find in my clinical work that people view conflict and subsequent debate as negative, hostile and rejecting.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, a recent large-scale study found that couples who freely argue, actually love each other the most.
So long as conflicts are handled kindly and respectfully (even if, very intensively) then they are gifts that provide rare opportunities to gain resolution. Without such resolution we cannot progress relationships towards depth and authentic closeness.
Conflict also provides us with an opportunity to hone our skills at debate. While this might seem trivial, learning to argue in an articulate and logical manner is crucial to operating as an assertive free agent and ‘finding our voice’ in this big, noisy world.
But there are also some other important gains to be found. For example, when we argue, we demonstrate to others that we care enough about the relationship to struggle for solutions rather than just withdraw into indifference.
We also clarify and identify what we stand for (what matters and what does not matter) which helps us build a strong identity or sense of self.
It also teaches others that we need to be genuinely persuaded and that we will never be a pushover, which helps earn the respect of others (a crucial element of any relationship).
Moreover, we demonstrate to ourselves and others that we are strong, resilient, non-fragile and that we can handle the full force of arguments being fired at us without having to be treated with condescending kid gloves. We learn to stand our ground (in a kind and open-minded way) and not be intimidated.
Learning to debate also helps ‘non-talkers’ become fully participating members of any group or within a relationship. Finding our voice through argument helps stop the passively resentful behaviours of sulking, meanness, and withholding that tend to arise from feelings of victimhood and lack of input.
Needless to say, all of this extends our brain power, forcing us to think fast and on-our-feet while developing better logic and reasoning skills with better articulation of arguments. So, don’t delay, start debating today!!