Such a simple question…

…yet SO difficult to answer!

 

What are three values I have that I would stand my ground on, no matter what?

To give you a little background info let me explain the chapter this reflection question follows.

This chapter was on “Communicating Effectively”.

First we were asked to think of times in our lives when a close friend confronted us in an un-loving manner, someone misinterpreted something we said and we were embarrassed, a time when we felt we were in a no-win conflict situation or we were ridiculed for standing up for our beliefs.  This initial exercise was not very enjoyable for me. Memories like that I would rather tuck away deep inside and never revisit them.

Then we were asked to think of the difference between the statements; a failure to communicate and a failure to communicate effectively.  One implies no communication was made at all and the other implies that a message was sent, but not interpreted clearly.  It is a very important distinction when trying to improve your communication skills.

The chapter continues on to describe various forms of communication: within groups, inter personally, according to your temperament type, according to others’ temperament types, across cultures, non-verbally, in conflict situations, formally(presentations).  Then explains in order to effectively communicate in these ways there are five main skills/ advice recommended to achieve this: 

1.Speak honestly, but be loving.

2. Truly listen, but speak up to be heard.

3. Hear what is said, but don’t depend on assumptions.

4. Stand your ground, but don’t be defensive.

5. Resolve conflict, but don’t give in.

Sounds simple written down right?  

Let’s focus on #4 becuase that’s what the reflection question is about…

Socrates, Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. …. ALL of these historical figures were martyred for taking a stand on monumental issues.  Each one believed SO strongly in sacred principles that he or she was willing to die rather than recant.  Each one spoke up (quietly in some cases) to defend his or her beliefs.

The book makes a good point that there is just something about those kinds of people that we find incredibly admirable.  We tend to have amazing amounts of respect for people who stand their ground in general but the respect grows exponentially when they do it without becoming boastful, arrogant, intimidating or defensive.

The author defines the term “stand your ground” for us as “to think through your beliefs and values, determine what positions are valid and appropriate and defensible, and not to waver because of intimidation, ridicule, or unpopularity.”  They go on to explain that one can be both firm and flexible in their beliefs but that flexible does not mean wishy-washy.  You can believe strongly in a particular paradigm, yet respect those who disagree and even attempt to truly understand their position as well.  If you maintain a solid belief in a value or principle, and if that is challenged by others, you can be willing to explore other views without instantly changing your own.

To stand my ground in a non-defensive manner involves confidence, maturity and true caring for other people. First it means I am confident in my beliefs and values and my reasons for thinking as I do. Second it means being mature enough to accept what others might hurt at me (hopefully only verbally) while resisting the temptation to hurl back.  Third, it means caring enough for others that I that I refuse to be smug or condescending in my attitude, even when I believe the issue is cut and dry and I am right and they are wrong. 

It’s funny because I think of parenting my children and yes, there are certain values in our home, certain rules that I consistently “stand my ground on”.  I don’t react defensively but I am also coming from a place of the adult vs child. There really is no debate or question who is right and who is wrong.  But when facing other adults, when forced to defend my opinion or belief…my values I don’t think I know how to “Stand my ground.”  No wonder I sucked horribly at speech and debate in high school. I can argue in circles and typically win that argument, but there is almost always hurt feelings, pride and tempers involved. To defend my beliefs the way Jesus did? Or be known for my principles and consistency as Joan of Arc was?? Now that’s something to aspire to.

But back to the original question now that we understand a little more about where the question is originating from: 

What are three values you have that you would stand your ground on, no matter what?

 

 

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