Picking my battles

Photo courtesy of Edward Liu (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Edward Liu (Creative Commons)

Do you ever feel like everything you are dealing with is a battle? With all these skirmishes, it can be disheartening and frustrating, and lead to bad decisions.

It may not even be conflicts that feel like battles, but issues to deal with, problems to solve and things to get done. At that point, even good things feel like poison if you are already overloaded.

When multiple challenges rear up, it’s easy to get into fight mode and tackle each of them as if it is the ultimate battle that will end the war.

Honestly, though, all that does is exhaust you and cause you to make less than desirable decisions. It can also alienate those you work with if you are always on the edge.

I am learning to take a step back, take a deep breath, and look at all sides of the situation before I react. By obtaining full information about what’s going on, I can make a more informed decision, and approach it with a calmer attitude.

And avoid donning my battle gear.

Whether it is a project at work, a situation at church, or a family issue, we can all benefit by pausing before we react. Many situations are simply not worth getting excited about and it’s better to save your energy for things that really matter.

For instance, I live in an apartment complex, so I have many neighbors who sometimes do annoying things like making unnecessary noise, letting their dogs bark incessantly, or allowing their children to run around like wild things. As frustrating as it may be to have a lovely quiet afternoon ruined by an unruly child screaming, they have a right to live there too, and unless the disruption continues until late into the night, I’m not going to fight that battle.

However, when a teen was shooting off firecrackers right outside my apartment, then I got involved! I confronted him and told him to stop, then reported him to the office. Some things are worth fighting about.

So take a deep breath next time you start gearing up and decide if that battle is really worth it.