I think that I’m a pretty civil individual – at least until I feel I must rebel against those that try to harm me. I also believe that I think about the consequences of each decision I make and – win or lose – prepare myself for all possibilities of the outcome. Most of the time I feel the decision will put me in a promising position and, well, other times I choose to fight fire with lighter fluid and know to not expect roses in the morning. But in both situations I try to determine if I can handle the possible outcome, look at the situation from the other person’s perspective and then implement a plan of action to resolve the issue, no matter what the outcome may be.
So, in this post I will tell a few hypothetical stories and ask you to dissect between verbal intent and physical action and you tell me which one outweighs the other.
An argument starts in a bar between two patrons that feel threatened by each other. One patron feels the other is looking at him “the wrong way” and his masculinity is challenged. He walks over and asks, “Is there a problem? Why are you looking at me like that?” Several seconds pass and now other people in their respected parties are intervening to separate the two men. Somehow, they still manage to engage in a physical altercation that leads to them spilling out into the street and one patron beats the other to a pulp. The unfortunate victim withstands several punches and kicks without a returned blow while the other guy is enraged so much that he has to be pulled off of the other guy. The police show up and ask the patron who’s still conscious why he’d done what he did and he responds, “I didn’t mean for the guy to be hurt so badly.” Does this make any sense to you? How does this guy convince anyone that he didn’t mean to cause bodily harm to the other?
“Baby, look. I know it was wrong for me to being seeing ol’ girl on the side and I hate that you had to find out the truth this way. When I first told you about her I said she was just a friend. I knew it was wrong but I thought I’d be able to end it without it affecting us. Yes, I was in Vegas with her last year on your birthday but we didn’t do anything, I promise. Baby, I need you to understand that I love you. I just need a little more time to show you that I do.”
Say what? How does one ask another to believe that they love them when their actions don’t support the words coming out of there mouths? Where there is reason to doubt then there’s probable cause to deem something is wrong, right?
We all argue for different reasons and it’s normal for two people who believe that they are both correct to engage in a dispute. Now, how we handle this dilemma is relatively different on a case by case basis. The thing I try to determine when I am not agreeing with another person is “What is it that they want me to think?” I look at the actions the other person has displayed and use that as a way to gauge what their intent is, not the other way around. If I see a person running towards me with their fist clinched, even if I don’t know the person and have never had an altercation with them, I’m still preparing myself to defend against being punched. Their actions have lead me to believe I should. Now once I knock them to the ground and they say, “Man, what did you do that for? I was just playing” I’ll reply, “Well, it sure didn’t look that way.”
Secondly, your intent can be expressed without you even saying where you want the situation to go. So choose wisely when trying to make a point. If you don’t want to get in a fight, then don’t make it look like you do. If you don’t want to get into an argument, then be calm, lower your voices and back away from the situation. If you want someone to love you, then show them that you love them. Don’t lead the life of a friend if you want to become the spouse. Pretty easy right?
Lastly, know that there are consequences for every decision you make. I witness far too many miscommunications between couples and friends that ultimately lead to the relationship being deeply scarred. Most of it is due to a lack of responsibility to hold yourself accountable for what you do and say. And no, time heals absolutely nothing people. It just allows for those scars to scab and become even more ugly. So, let’s stop expecting others to give you the benefit of the doubt when your actions are evidence that you shouldn’t be trusted.