Does anyone out there feel like they’re always questioning themselves? Are you one of the first people to back down in a disagreement and apologize first?
That used to be me. In fact, it’s still one of my first instincts. I usually assume I am the one at fault- for anything. I blame my past issues with authority. But- I have grown leaps and bounds, my friends. And let me tell you something- such a huge and heavy burden has been lifted!
I’ve written before about how I used to be an extreme introvert. And while that’s true, most of my quietness I can honestly blame on the fear of being rejected- or the fear of being “wrong” or being thought of as a weirdo for what I would speak up and say. Which- like I said- is such a heavy burden to carry!
So what changed?
Honestly, I blame my middle-child husband for getting me to realized there was something wrong with me- the fact that I wasn’t always wrong. (Ironic, I know). See, he loves to argue. Like none other. And when we met, I HATED arguing, or fights, or looks that insinuated disapproval. When we would fight, I would literally remain silent until it was over.
How things have changed 🙂
Nowadays, if Josh and I get into an argument, he will often stop and laugh at the change he’s seen in me. Going from silent to actually being able to hold my ground and articulate arguments that make sense- instead of a nervous word vomit- has been quite an impressive feet.
I say all this because this is what I want for anyone and everyone who find themselves questioning their beliefs when challenged.
I am so tired of the “acceptance and tolerance” culture that wants nothing more than to shut up those who don’t agree with them.
Ok, ok before I get on any kind of soap box, I’ll just dive into it.
Here’s how to deal with toxic people & when people tell you you’re wrong
Ask why they think you’re wrong
Always ask why. If someone tells you that you are wrong (whether they’re talking about your beliefs, something you did, etc.), always ask them to back up why they believe that. It shouldn’t be an insulting thing to do so. In fact, it can very much be a validating thing because you’re giving them a chance to explain their beliefs and opinions, which is more than fair. Many times, if you come to the source of your disagreement, both of you will be able to see why you disagree with one another. It may be a difference in fundamental beliefs, it may be the way you were raised. Either way, always seek to know why they disagree- specifically.
Do take time to consider their opinions
A huge reason why I believe today’s culture can be very aggressive with their beliefs and putting down others is because of a lack of respect and an unwillingness to understand.
Just as in marriage, when you’re discussing something with your spouse, it would drive you completely insane if your spouse told you you were wrong without actually taking the time to consider your opinion. This goes for every other relationship as well. Take the time to listen and consider the other person’s opinion before responding. Many times, even if we completely disagree, we can at least wrap our heads around why people believe what they do, which is so important when maintaining mutual respect.
Another reason to consider the other person’s beliefs and opinions is the chance that you actually could be wrong. Always keep a humble attitude. If you know where your beliefs come from (i.e. mine come from the Bible) then you’ll be able to go back and test whether your opinions are accurate or not. If not, maybe reconsider what you thought you knew. But if your opinions line up, stay true my friend!
This leads me to my next point:
Always know where your beliefs come from!
There are so many today who have, what I think of as, a “belief basket.” They go along from here to there- picking the beliefs that sound nice, are popular, make them feel good about themselves and their current situation, and/or make them feel like they’re on top of the world and they are the ones who really “get it.” They find their hand-picked beliefs from their parents (or a reaction against their parents), the media, celebrities, weird shareable Facebook quotes (extra points if it rhymes), fashionable new-age religions, or any smooth talking person on the internet.
My challenge to you is this: find the source of your beliefs. Even write down specifically what you believe and why, if that helps. Get logical and test your own beliefs, because you know others will! The source of your beliefs will shape so many of your opinions and how you choose to act towards others.
I know that my beliefs come from the Bible, so you know I’m going to be studying the bible like heck to be able to know exactly what I believe and why. I won’t have hazy, muddled opinions because I read some quote on Facebook that made me feel good about myself. Honestly, the Bible doesn’t always make me feel good about myself. Sometimes it points out what’s completely wrong with me. And I’m ok with that because I don’t pick and choose what goes into my “beliefs basket.” If the Bible says, “to live is Christ and to die is gain,” then I’m going to live a life trying to forget about myself and love God and others more than me, no matter if that Facebook quote says that I should only be looking out for #1.
You don’t have to make others believe what you believe
You know what? Sometimes (let’s be real- most of the time) no amount of arguing is going to get people to agree with you, no matter how passionately you believe what you do. And that’s ok. It’s not your job to change everyone’s mind. I believe that Christ is the only way to be saved. Am I open and adamant about that? Um, yes (^hence^). But it’s not my job to make people agree with that and believe it themselves. Sometimes, they’re just not ready yet. Sometimes they’ll never be ready.
This doesn’t just have to do with faith-based beliefs.
You might see a friend doing something that you believe is wrong, and you may be honest with them and tell them that what they are doing is wrong, but no amount of logic or arguing is going to get them to change.
This is where I consider people “toxic.” They often tend to be self-focussed, easily become the victims, and are very illogical.
I was speaking with a friend yesterday, let’s call her “Rose,” who said that she recently had to end some toxic friendships. These friends were always taking Rose’s happiness and turning it into something insulting to themselves (ie. victimizing themselves).
When Rose had gotten engaged last year, she sent out a group text to several of her friends sharing the awesome news! Her friends, however, took the news as an insult because they weren’t told in a more personal setting (even though they live several hours away).
This, along with many other pity parties, eventually forced my friend Rose “breakup” with her friends, simply because she couldn’t take constantly having to apologize for things that were insulting to her friends- things that should have been happy about!
Safe to say, my friend Rose is much better off without these toxic friendships in her life. This leads me to my last point. When toxic people begin to go down on you…
Stay cool. Don’t become defensive.
This is one of the worst things we can do if someone attacks us. Like I said in the last point, many times we are not going to be on the same page with people, and that’s ok! They may even be trying so hard to convince you to change (your beliefs, your style, behavior, etc.) that they actually start attacking you personally. That’s ok too (well, it’s not ok. But remember, keep your cool). You can defend yourself, but don’t become defensive. Nothing will discredit you more than if you start attacking someone personally, and when someone starts doing that to you, it’s probably time to write them off. Sometimes it’s ok to say, “You know, I think we’ve said all that we can say on the subject and it’s probably ok to move on now.” And then actually move on.
The important thing to do, after everything else already mentioned, is hold your ground. Sometimes, the most important thing you can do is understand that people are wrong (even if they think you’re the wrong one). You can know and trust that you are right, and there’s nothing they can say that will change that. It can often be really hard to see in the moment, but removing yourself from the situation can often help you to see how the other person’s actions are not acceptable.
Try your best to remove yourself from the situation. Listen to their opinions, but always take them with a grain of salt, and never take it personally. Test what they’re saying against what you know to be true and don’t back down just to keep the peace.
I hope this helps my friends, love you all!