Choosing your Battles

I used to make everything a battle; I mean like stupid things, such as: my sister wearing a shirt that I gave her, who got the best seat on the bus to school, who got more time on the computer growing up (because yes, I grew up in a time where not everyone had a computer and it was a schedule you had to abide by). Within the past couple years I really started to understand the phrase “You need to choose you battles carefully”. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with growing up and people calling me on my shit and me actually listening or if it was just a switch that flipped on but either way, now I look back and cringe at the things I thought were worth fighting over.

A couple of years ago, I was leaving work with my friend, Meagan. As usual I was telling her what happened in the day and how I got upset and I said something along the lines of, “Well and then I got so defensive because I worked so hard on that and she just threw them away.” Without a beat, she turned to me and said “yeah but don’t you get defensive about everything?” Well, fuck, now what? I can’t get defensive that’ll just prove her point, so instead I just laughed and didn’t say anything for the rest of the walk home. #passiveagressive

Here is the issue with what she said, she was right. Which sucked. It sucks admitting that you’re not as good as you thought or you’re not as self-aware as you have claimed for the past few years, but, it was also an amazing thing that she did say it because boom, I had to change, with that two sentence exchange I realized I had to start choosing my battles, because frankly someone throwing out my project, not a battle worth fighting.

I think we all get a set amount of things that are worth fighting for, of course some vary from person to person, but the generic things that I believe are worth fighting for are below,

  1. Character – but you need to be able to back it up, if someone says you’re a dick and you are, you don’t get to argue that.
  2. Feelings – you can’t always control how you feel and you definitely don’t need to give someone the time to make you feel like your feelings aren’t valid, they are.
  3. Physical – if someone tries to physically attack you, you are allowed to fight back, but like, don’t start the fight and be surprised when you’re knocked on your ass.
  4. Words/Tact – you control the words you use and the tact of which you say them with. This is so important, you can be honest but you need to be tactful, if you’re just being honest and mean, you’re not being a good person, re: #1.
  5. Heart – some people can’t control if they have a healthy heart or not, but in a more symbolic way, you need to use your heart for good and for love, if you’re kind and you work hard, you will succeed. That’s all.

Now, again, you’ll know if its worth fighting over or not, but I highly suggest using the count to 10 rule. I was taught this by an old boss of mine, Brian Langley, shout out: you’re my hero. When I was upset about something and wanted to react, he would tell me to wait until I could calmly count to 10 and if then, I still wanted to react I could. The important thing to remember is, sometimes it takes 5 minutes before you can calmly do the count and sometimes it takes 24 hours, there is no right or wrong time to wait, it’s just about being able to calmly count to 10. I still am practicing this today, I’m not perfect at it but it definitely helps me on a daily basis.

Being a woman and simply, just how I am as a person, I have apologized for everything my entire life. Things I can’t control, like, oh no, you lost your favorite ring the ocean? I’m sorry! You tripped and fell last week and hurt your ankle, I’m so sorry! You burnt your toast this morning? I’m terribly sorry! This is almost always met with an, “Why are you sorry, you didn’t do anything?” Which has two effects  on me, 1. I feel stupid 2. I don’t know why I said sorry, it was my way of acknowledging and empathizing with what happened, now don’t make it weird.

The reason I mention this though, is because it’s the polar opposite of fighting for everything. Not only, do you need to choose your battles, but you can choose your apologies too. List time!! Man, I love making lists. Here are, in my opinion, things that you should always apologize for,

  1. Treating someone as though they are inferior or less than you.
  2. Causing someone pain, whether physical, mental or emotional.
  3. Laughing at someones passion or making fun of their openness regarding said passion.
  4. Not stopping to pet my dog, when she clearly wants you to pet her.
  5. Being an asshole.

All in all, to do well in this lifetime, you just need to not be an asshole, which is ironic, coming from someone who is a bit of an asshole but I mean well. I apologize when I need too and I fight for what I believe in and I do it with kindness in my heart and an openness to other people’s opinions and experiences. See? I’m not all bad.

What are some things you believe are worth fighting for? Why? When was the last time you apologized for something you don’t believe you needed to apologize for? What made you apologize? Let me know!

xx your gal, AL.