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Talking it over: Pick your battles

Many years ago, a very wise person told me to “pick my battles.” At first I was confused about this advice but the older I get, the more I understand the truth behind those three little words.

I now know that this means to be careful about what you allow to become a full-scale disagreement. Sometimes the little things you fight about with someone, are really not worth it. Arguing with a person over petty things can lead to results that neither of you want.

It is not always easy to pick your battles. When someone says or does something to upset you, it is easy to quickly respond with anger or disdain. But is it always worth it? That person may or may not of meant it as you took it and sometimes simply speaks before they think.

Sometimes we wish our government would be more selective when it comes to picking their battles. We are often upset about things we feel should be left to be settled without intervention. That same philosphy can be true with personal disagreements.

I am not saying that we should always just sit back and let people take advantage of us or even say or do hurtful things to us without retort. However, we can often find better ways to respond rather than in anger or vindictiveness. Quiet, behind the scenes, diplomacy can settle many battles before they begin.

There have been times when I have been involved in a fight with someone I care about and regret words that were said in anger. It is difficult, but necessary, to admit you were wrong and ask for forgiveness. It is even more difficult when we think we are right, to apologize simple to settle a disagreement.

Since I really don’t like making those apologizes, I have learned the hard way to “pick my battles.” There are many times when someone says or does something to upset me and I have to just close my mouth and keep my anger in check. That person may get the idea that I am upset but at least I have not said or done anything to make it worse. My opinion stays with me at that moment, and, hopefully, there will be an opportunity in the future to let that person know how I feel in a more friendly manner.

So if you say or do something to upset me, I may just quietly turn the other cheek and walk away. That doesn’t mean I have not heard or registered the attack but simply that I choose not to make it one of my “battles.” I limit myself to just a few battles each year and I have probably met my quota already.

With time, all things look different and most battles look less attractive and necessary. Pick yours carefully.