Society doesn’t particularly like losers. Even apart from bombarding a consumer of the Internet with about 7 infomercials daily on how to be the alpha, society particularly likes to hate the girl or guy that came second, the extra in a movie, or the politician who gave a tough fight but couldn’t touch the magic figure. It would love to relegate them to a shadow of the Number 1, a shadow from which they’d likely never emerge.
Being products of such a system, we are naturally inclined to think there’s a problem with losing. And it is one thing about circumstances not in our control – like the exam or the sport match we desperately wanted to rock, but found that human weaknesses stood in the way of – but when it comes to people, there is simply not much ground to be conceded. Especially when it comes to the people we love, because those are the ones we fight a lot with – how dare they not function as we’d like, especially when the whole outside world is going haywire? Aren’t they supposed to be our support system? That is the way we mostly feel.
And to ensure that our subjective opinions are unrestricted from becoming manifestations of reality, we fight with these close folks if they disagree. There are situations that bring out the worst in people – we scream, we cry, we manipulate. But get our way we will.
At least, that’s what we like to think that we are doing.
But if getting our way was a way to happiness, happiness must be what we’re after. And I’ve mostly found that letting go, and conceding the metaphorical argument goal to your opponent, can feel very emancipatory.
For one, this action instantly rids you of the need to think fast and come up with mean comebacks. Or the need to plan for days so you can come up with a sarcastic quote to that poor person at an opportune time. OR to stalk an ex-lover and bombard this person with unnecessary afternoon guilt to spite them because they offended you with their choice of football team.
Secondly, it shows that you’re mature enough to put this person that you care about over an argument, shows that you’d rather lose the fight than them, as the famous saying goes. And it simultaneously knocks a few pounds off your ego. Ego is a chief hindrance to progress, so where exactly is the harm in that?
However, what happens if this person is not someone that you’re very close to? What if they are someone you somewhat know and like, but you’re sure that they wouldn’t put your interests above their own if push came to shove? Should you still voluntarily lose an argument with them?
I believe you should. Because along with the first reason of a lack of emotional energy expenditure this move automatically brings with itself, there’s also the issue of being the bigger person. Most of us are young and energetic, and we often forget what used to hold true in the old days before the Internet taught everyone that Elon Musk was life’s ideal (no offence to either the Net or Musk – I’m a huge fan of both). So the old days preach that there was something more important than hustling and being successful – being a nice person. And I have found that each time one is being the bigger or the nicer person, they are increasing their own productivity too, due to the mental peace they are buying themselves.
Being the bigger person means you are content with someone else doing something wrong to you, and getting away with it (one exception can be if the offence is really, really grave and you actually can do something to fix it). You don’t have to reply with 3 sassy comebacks in response to 2 of theirs, you can afford to live with looking stupid to a bunch of 20 people if they insulted you once at school or work. As most aggression and malice comes from a place of insecurity, you can rest assured that you’re mentally better off than your empty attacker. And if they were someone you actually cared about, and who managed to cross a line, all the better – they lost someone who would walk some miles for them, but you lost someone who wouldn’t. You letting them live with the guilt and pain of hurting someone who wouldn’t hurt them back is enough punishment, as I’ve seen from second-hand experience several times in life. And if this person isn’t feeling guilty – would you really want someone so lacking in conscience as your friend?
Another benefit that accrues is that there is nothing that can be used against you, generated in the course of this scuffle, in the future – which doesn’t hold true for the other party. Most people would also take note of how you both behaved, and of the words that spoke about both of your personae. And lastly, there will always be people who are better than the ones that don’t like you – maybe shared irritation, in some twisted turn of destiny – will also bring you together. Chin up, reader!