If not, then begin paying attention and you may learn something about how the universe works.
Much of our fights and strained relationships happen because of this simple process.
Remember one of the laws of physics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is true in the physical realm and in the emotional. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
But, it is not NECESSARY. You can stop this even exchange of energy and begin to heal your world.
This little proverb states a fact that many fail to observe and apply in their lives.
A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs it up.
Notice the reflective action here. Harshness of speech stirs up harshness. Gentleness in speech stops the harshness.
What does this look like?
Harshness comes through mainly in the tone of your voice, not necessarily in the words used. For instance, I have a good friend who often calls me an idiot, and we both laugh. He says it with laughter in his voice
You may say that is because I know him. Possibly. But, I do the same thing with perfect strangers and get a laugh from them. I have learned how to modulate the tone of my voice.
The tone of voice is affected by emotion.
Your emotion of the moment affects the tone of voice you use.
If you are passionate about the idea you are trying to present, your voice reflects that passion. You may become intense in your delivery.
If you are angry, your voice reveals that anger.
If you are happy, the lilt in your voice reflects the inner joy of your being.
When someone snaps at you, regardless of the reason, what is your initial reaction? Don't you also take on a snappy tone? You feel attacked, and attack in return. And the energy escalates, often resulting in a fight.
Later on, we sometimes forget what the fight was about. It wasn't "about" anything. It was a negative energy exchange.
With just a little awareness and practice, you can change this dynamic in your life.
During my truck-driving stint, I had to take a load into Canada. Getting back into the US proved to be quite stressful. I pulled into a line of trucks that was reported over the cb-radio to be six miles long.
To get back across the border required showing a lot of necessary paperwork, so it meant that we were just creeping along as only one truck at a time was being inspected.
It was getting very late, already past midnight, and I was still about two miles out. As I looked ahead around the curve, I noticed that there was a huge gap between trucks. I waited. No one moved. It appeared to me that the driver had fallen asleep, which was probably true for more than just that one in front.
There were about a dozen trucks between me and that gap, and no one was moving. I waited for more than a reasonable amount of time, and pulled out. I passed all dozen trucks and pulled into the gap, which was now more than a quarter-mile long.
A few moments after I stopped, a driver jumped on my running board with his face contorted into an angry I'm-ready-to-fight look as he demanded, "Why did you cut in front of me?"
Fortunately, I had been meditating on Proverbs 15:1 off and on for the past few days, and it came to the surface of my mind in an instant. (Matt. 10:19; John 16:13)
Instead of taking offense at his attitude and accusation--which was false (I din't purposefully cut in front of him)--I quietly responded, "Friend, please don't take it personally. It appeared to me that a driver had fallen asleep and that gap was getting bigger and bigger, so I simply moved into the gap."
I kind of think he was the sleeping driver, and that my coming around him woke him up; but he said nothing else and eased back off my running board.
A soft answer turned away his wrath.
I truly believe that many people are ticketed by the police when they get pulled over simply because they take on an attitude of an adversarial relationship. I have found--more than once--that a gentleness with the officer, even when I am guilty, has saved me from a ticket. (I have lived by Romans 13:3 for years.)
The next time you wonder why your partner goes off on you for no apparent reason, check in first with the attitude that you were presenting to him or her. See if they were not simply reflecting what you were putting out. If so, learn how to modulate the tone of your voice when you are under an emotional surge.
The next time someone comes at you with a harsh word or angry tone, try finding the resiliency to present them with a soft answer, and see what happens.
It takes awareness and practice; but doing this will take away a lot of the stress in your life.
Comments, criticisms, and/or questions are most welcome and appreciated. Thank you.