Picking your battles

Image by Peter Dargatz from Pixabay

Making yourself heard can be hard, sometimes we can feel overlooked or made to feel invisible.  Who remembers Jackie Weaver’s outburst at her local parish council meeting where she had to shout at the patronising men who had no authority?  Sounds like she’s made a very lucrative and successful career out of that by the way.

Jackie’s advice in a Good Housekeeping magazine interview was to “pick your battles, because you can’t deal with everything all the time”.  She suggested that whatever the situation was to just focus on what was important in the moment, it’s impossible to have it all so you need to prioritise.  Her philosophy seems to be trying to understand other people and where they’re coming from to help be kinder to them, bringing out their better nature and helping yourself by reassuring yourself its not all about you.

When Jackie finds herself being drawn into conflict, she would ordinarily try to avoid it but when she does get sucked in, she tries to focus on what she wants to achieve and ignore the rest.  Someone will always rattle our cage at some point so Jackie’s advice is to ask ourselves whether we should let that battle go.

In the article Jackie shared what she’d learned about dealing with difficult situations and tricky people:

  • Getting things done – pragmatism, focus and determination.  Prioritise what’s important and remember that you can’t do it all, stick to your guns, stay focussed and don’t say yes to everything;
  • Its easy to be difficult – from those keyboard warriors to the disengaged and rude, difficult people come in many shapes and forms so thing about trying to work out why they are being difficult, talk to them, listen and make them feel heard, don’t accept unreasonable behaviour, develop your own inner voice;
  • Engage, don’t rage – don’t shout or lose your temper if you want to be heard. Engage with people and make them feel you’re on their side, be clear in your own mind about what you want, king about what you’re saying and how to say it, don’t start a meeting or conversation if you’re angry or upset.

I find it really hard to challenge some people and make my point heard without getting wound up about it.  If I feel I’m not being listened to or my voice not heard, I tend to shut down and not get involved at all, and therefore not getting my point across, and ultimately feeling rubbish about the whole thing.  Sometimes, I wish I had Jackie’s strength of character to shut certain people down, or even just to say what I need to say and feel that I’ve been heard and taken seriously.  I find it difficult to assert myself and express my feelings and point of view about some topics and to certain people.

I think part of this came from a previous relationship where I was often told that I had no opinion and what did I know anyway. Most of it now comes from when people talk over me.  I feel that they are saying my voice doesn’t matter or they or their opinion is more important.  Heads up, if someone starts talking over me and you see me sit back and shut up, know that you’re not going to get anything out of me then, even more so in virtual meetings when I’ll also turn my microphone off.  And if I’ve turned the video off as well, you know that I’m seriously unimpressed. I’m not going to battle with you, but I’m not going to engage with you either.

How do you recognise which battles to argue?


One thought on “Picking your battles

  1. I think we’ve all experienced those people who talk over us. I’m similar to you in that I will shut down if it’s done too much. The other side is that I might then become aggressive because I’m made to feel small or of no importance. Not a good trait, but I don’t know how to make sure others are aware I’m not stupid, do have opinions and have worth. Not enough people pause to let others speak before judging or imparting their own thoughts or agenda 😔🤔


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s