It’s OK, I’m not picking an argument. It’s not something I can ever remember saying. So, why put it out here? Why has ‘no you’re wrong, I’m right’ come to my attention?
Conversations or not
The beauty of great conversations is the ability to be able to have a debate, yes? Whether it’s in a work setting, conversation with family or banter with friends, it’s the ‘to and fro’ that keeps us engaged; it keeps things going. A statement like ‘no you’re wrong, I’m right’ doesn’t really invite any kind of discussion, does it?
I commonly see this kind of statement (even if it’s not actually as bald as this) is on social media. But I do think it’s reflective of a broader sense in the world. Whilst I love social media (and use it regularly), it’s become a place where posts are very shouty with each comment digging deeper into polar arguments. And, there is little room for a ‘what about…’ or ‘in my experience….’ or even ‘can I ask?…..’ as the responses can be sharp and derogatory. It doesn’t make for a safe place to be ‘wrong’.
Why is this important?
I know I can choose not to be on social media, and I’m careful about discussions I am involved in. So, why worry? Good question. Apart from the feeling of being bombarded with someone’s angry energy, there are some really basic reasons. A world that doesn’t listen and is so keen to be ‘right’ with no option for debate isn’t a good place to be. Kay Cooke, in her book ‘Happy Brain, next generation thinking’ describes ‘brain goals’ or ‘basic needs’. Where we don’t meet these basic needs, this may be due to a dissonance between conscious and unconscious goals. This is seen in someone’s behaviour as they strive to have goals met to move to positions of thrive.
What’s important about basic needs?
Having our basic needs met is key to living a life in thrive; balance; consciously. Depending on our life’s experience, a deficit may cause our brain to revert to stress mode and prompt action to bring things back into balance. A further deficit will cause our ‘survival’ brain to take over, possibly escalating behaviours. I believe it’s some of those escalating behaviours that I see. Where there is no room for debate and people cannot tolerate a different opinion or a view that doesn’t accord with theirs.
Three basic needs that I think are key are;
- Feeling listened to. Having space where we can safely (without ridicule, or being dismissed) is essential for us to explore ideas, things that worry us, develop our thinking. Without this, we might withdraw and feel a disconnect to ourselves because we have to put things to one side. A feeling of being listened to helps settle the mammalian brain which is important for our sense of connection.
- Connection and co-operation with others. Having a social connection, a sense of sharing experience is essential for being able to hold our identity in groups. Being able to give and take feedback, find our sense of self with others is essential for settling our mammalian brain. Again, developing that sense of connection, social bonding and learning.
- Asking Questions without feeling judged. We ask questions for all sorts of reasons and being able to do so without being judged helps us learn. Where we can’t do this, we stifle our confidence to grow and expand and our thinking brain starts to go in circles internally. For children especially, this can sap their confidence.
It’s probably true that, at times, we don’t take care of our basic needs. We’ve all lived stressful situations and on a temporary basis, this is quite normal. However, not being able to meet these needs over time can drive behaviour in unwanted ways. And, one of these might be a need to be ‘right’; a need to appear to be in control; a protection from people getting close or avoiding looking ‘weak’. All of them possible protection strategies in a bid to fill the void left by our basic needs not being met. Whilst in a moment in time, we probably all demonstrate these behaviours but if we get stuck there, it becomes entrenched and it can feel like there’s no way back.
I’d have to recommend coaching as a next step here. Once someone has realised that they’re stuck in something, it can often be someone ‘outside’ that can help highlight where change can be made. A coach is someone who WILL give you a safe space to ask questions. They WILL help you connect to your experiences. They WILL allow you to ask questions. If you’re interested in finding someone to talk to, try the Life Coach Directory for someone in your area (including me!)