“If you seek truth, you will not seek by every means to gain a victory, and if you have found the truth, you will have the gain of not being defeated.” – Epictetus
If we think about a subject we are very comfortable with. Not just passionate about but something we understand inside and out. There will not be many, gaining that level of experience and knowledge is difficult and rare. But when it comes to that level of understanding, we all have a few things.
Now if we imagine that we are having an argument with someone about that subject and they are just straight up wrong. No one is going to get hurt by their being wrong, they just don’t know what they are talking about it. How bothered are we really? If we are getting a little better with focusing on what is in our control we are probably not all that bothered because we know that they are wrong. We might even feel a little bad for them.
Once we have identified the things we have control over and the the things that we do not, and we are comfortable with those boundaries, we will not be trying to score points or win arguments and we will not be concerned about being proven wrong in areas that we are not well versed in. Instead we can look at the criticism and negative things spoken to us in even the most vitriolic argument, we can tease out the things that may point to actual weaknesses in our lives (tip: these are typically the statements that hurt the most), and we can focus on eliminating those weaknesses.
Then even the most personal and hateful attacks will give us insight on areas of our lives we can work on. And that is something we can control.
Virtus Fortis Vocat