Much of your inner mind’s life is the nagging question, “Who was right in the last argument you had with someone?” There will be endless confrontations. Minor and major ones. But one thing will stay consistent. Your sense of peace and calmness will be always interrupted, at least momentarily, but your confrontations. Most of what you feel will be petty disagreements. Be the first to lay down your arms and apologize to the other party, even if you still feel you were the party in the right. In doing so, you disarm the other party in your life. Your ego is the persistent factor that is causing you to feel unease. The minor tensions in your life will continue to build, and you will slowly grow more and more unhappy as a result.
Those minor conflicts stay in your unconscious mind. You may, if you write down your dreams, and providing you get enough sleep per night, find that past arguments you may have had with others around you will continue to nag at you, until you may seek out unhealthy releases like alcohol or drugs or worthless television shows to dull your present moments. The more you try to “defend” yourself and your stance, the more the other party will push, and both of you will feel the ensuing tension and unease as the argument escalates.
For example, in my own life, I once had an argument with a friend about my bothering one of his children. He yelled at me in front of my parents and other relatives which resulted in my feeling insulted. I harbored that initially and I avoided him at friends’ gatherings and places where I would run into him. But what did that accomplish? I then came to my senses and yielded and faced him with open arms and gave him a hug. Both of us were instantly disarmed and a big cloud in my unconscious mind left forever.
So be the first to yield. Don’t let petty dramas and petty arguments ruin your day and your peace of mind. Of course, if an interaction with a certain person in your life is constantly toxic, then it may make sense to remove that relationship in your life. But if the person is someone that you will be obliged to run into, like a close business associate or a family member, just let go of your ego, try to see why the other party was upset in the first place, and be the first to say, “I’m sorry.” Don’t worry about whether you were ultimately right or wrong. Choose peace over being right in every situation. So what if they felt they won the argument. Ultimately, it does not matter. The only thing that matters is your peace of mind.
If you took out the trash last and your brother insists it is your turn still, even if you know it is his turn, just yield and take out the trash again. Doing so will relieve such a tension in your own mind. The energy you expend trying to prove to your ego that you are in the right and the other party is in the wrong is far greater than the energy it takes just to yield first to the other party. Even if it results in your taking out the trash every single time, just do the task. It is not worth any confrontation.
Besides, the other party may have a valid point in the argument too. There are always two sides to every story, and try to see their side as well. Maybe they are doing a task they think is your duty or they may think you are not pulling your own weight. Don’t let your ego which is always your enemy and shadow, to get in the way of your inner peace, which is priceless. What is really the point of defending your ego anyhow? What is the longer term benefit?
In the example I gave, I could have chosen ego over equanimity, and avoided my friend and all the gatherings for good. And how could that have served me? All that would accomplish is making me more unhappy because then I could not see my other friends, and making me feel and harbor discomfort and unhappiness if ever I ran into him. Really it makes no difference in most cases in your life. All you will succeed in doing if you insist on your stance is raise your blood pressure, your headaches, and make you age prematurely, disturb your sleep, and give yourself a heart attack at an earlier age. Let go. Let go of all your conflicts and apologize to the other party. It is easy to do if you release your ego.
This does not mean being a “pushover” or classic “doormat”. It does not mean that you have to lower yourself before the other person. If say you are in a restaurant and your food is cold, you need not get into an argument with someone at the restaurant. You don’t have to be “offended”. Just ask politely if they could heat the food up or make another which suits you. If they insist that the food is warm enough, just yield, say thank you, and either choose to eat the food or choose another restaurant in the future. Don’t turn all red and start some fight which may end up in someone spitting in your food or ruin someone else’s day. If you sit back and meditate on it, you will agree that in most all cases, it is better to yield. If you just stick to the facts and say “Oh, I’m sorry, but I feel the food is cold”, it is so much better than showing “offense”, and taking it personally, and shouting at the waiter, “How dare you serve me cold food!”. The latter response will only bring up the “sorrowful soul” in you both.