TALKING IT OUT
“Anger blows out the lamp of the mind,” said Robert Ingersoll.
It may be true. I heard a story about one woman who ran a classified
ad in order to sell her brand new car. It had only 3,000 miles.
“Like new,” the ad boasted. “Mint condition. $75.00.”
He laughed to himself, and said, “There goes the newspaper, making
another mistake.” But he decided to call the number anyway and ask
“Is it really brand new?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“Three thousand miles?”
“Seventy-five dollars,” she answered.
“Seventy-five dollars! Lady, what’s wrong with it?” he asked.
“Nothing is wrong with it. And, amazingly, you’re the first to call.
I suppose nobody else believes the ad.”
He decided to look at it. She let him take a test drive. The car
looked exquisite and ran perfectly. He just couldn’t believe his
“The car is yours for $75.00. Just drive it away.”
He paid her and took the keys. “Please tell me, lady,” he persisted.
“You could have sold this car for $35,000, at least.
What is going on?”
She told her story: “I bought the car for my husband on our fortieth
wedding anniversary. Two weeks later he ran off with somebody else.
Last week I got a text from him. They are in a resort in Miami
Beach, Florida. The text said,
‘Need money, sell car, send cash.’
What do you do when you are angry?
Some people “act it out.” They break something. Or they say
something they later regret. They strike back. Or they sell the car
Other people “wait it out.” Waiting it out seemed to be her husband’s
strategy. Let her cool down – it will blow over. But the avoidance
of conflict usually never ends well. It just doesn’t go away by
Others “take it out.” They kick the dog or scream at the kids. They
lash out at the next unlucky person they come across.
Still others “fight it out.” Humorist Bob Orben says, “Who can ever
forget Winston Churchill’s immortal words: ‘We shall fight on the
beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in
the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills’? It
sounds exactly like our family vacation.” With friends and family,
fighting it out becomes bickering. On a larger scale, it’s called
Of course, the best idea is to “talk it out.” Nothing new here – we
have to bring it up before we can get it out. But talking it out isn’t
shouting it out. I think some people believe that if they just say
it loudly enough, they can make it so.
Talking it out is about bringing it up – saying what needs to be
said clearly, calmly and kindly. But it is also about listening. I
think it’s interesting that the word “listen” contains the same
letters as the word “silent.” I know that I can’t listen when I’m
talking. I can’t listen when I’m figuring out what I want to say
next. I have to be still. I have to be silent.
And when I’m silent, something almost magical happens. Walls come
down and I can begin to see my way through. When I’m silent I create
space for something new to grow between us.
ACT IT OUT and your actions will become a block to good
WAIT IT OUT and you just let it build up inside.
TAKE IT OUT and you cause more hurt and anger.
FIGHT IT OUT and you create winners and losers.
But TALK IT OUT and you can get it out. Be honest. Be clear. But, be
reasonable. And then be silent. Let the magic of the moment ferment
so that understanding can grow.
Maybe then you can keep the car.
Find Steve Goodier here: http://stevegoodier.blogspot.com/.