Say it Ain't So!
One of the hardest things I've learned as an adult is, to allow people to leave, with the same opinion, I met them with. A verbal argument does not always change minds. Often, it's a waste of time. A person has to be in a position to receive what you are saying, or your words are pointless. I cannot tell you that I am an expert on this one, but I've come a "mighty long way."
Several years ago, a friend told me that I was "girly and feminine." There is nothing wrong with being girly or feminine, but at the time, I assure you, I was neither. In fact that comment proved to be a REALLY good laugh for my husband. At the time, one of my favorite pass times was an insane "dude type" workout (still is). I wore nothing frilly, or laced. The only thing I owned in pink was my tongue, which I held rather nicely, because back then (for a host of reasons) those were fighting words. I easily brushed off her comment, reasoning that perhaps, I was showing her something, I wasn't showing to anyone else.
Another friend, implied I was competitive. This comment wasn't so easily brushed off. I mostly dislike competition. A competitive nature, left unchecked, gives root to some pretty ugly things, including jealously. The perception, I was competitive was unflattering. I was curious where she got it. I never competed against her, in ANYTHING! Outside of my family, I don't even play board games with others. I'll compete with the hubby, because with Ken, it's all trash talk, fun, games, and no hard feelings. It's a safe place. Outside of that, my greatest competition has always been me. I've literally, played games, and tried to beat myself. Perhaps that is where she got that idea. Sometimes striving to do your best, could be interpreted as competition, not directly, but indirectly. Those watching cannot tell, that in my mind, for better or worse, my only real opponent has always been, me. I believe, to compete with someone, would mean I acknowledge them as some sort of standard for me. No such human exist. I've learned, that the only motivation worth having, is an honest one. To desire to excel solely because someone is, is to be controlled. On the flip-side, not to excel, or to deny an interest/ ability in something, because someone else likes, or dislikes a thing, is also to be controlled. I try to evaluate my motivation in all things. It's my idea "an honest living." The thought that I could be perceived as otherwise motivated, did not sit well with me.
Now while I'm not competitive, it's absolutely fair to say I am defensive. I was very capable of explaining to her how, and why she's wrong. For whatever reason, I didn't. She formulated that opinion. It was her's to keep. It's enough that I know, who I am. Besides, even though the two are not the same, it's hard to be defensive, and not be perceived as competitive. I think they might be cousins or something. An argument would have served only, to bolster her point. Times like that, has led me to where I am now. There is no need to bicker. If ever placed in a position, where you have to defend yourself, or a belief, first define the argument. What's the contention really about? Do you have a God given, honest opinion? What is it? Is it worth sharing, or is it a waste of time? State plainly what you believe, and move on.
For many, this is an easy practice. It took me years to learn. I'm wired with the desire to correct. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I just needed to learn how to use it. There is a time, and a place. Outside of the proper environment, it's a waste of time, and can even be harmful. It's God responsibility to teach everyone, not mine. He'll get the message He wants, to the person He wants, at the proper time. I can relax and leave the impartation of all truth to Him. I gotta tell ya, I've had a lot less work to do in the last few years. I like it :)