Photo: Wesley Correa/Unsplash
I used to get into a lot of arguments. Each day, I’d find something that annoyed me, and then vent all of my anger onto whoever was nearby. Deep down, I knew that something had to change. The only problem? I didn’t know where to start.
But while reading a book at my local library, I came across the following quote from Epictetus that changed my life forever:
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
From this, I learned that arguing is pointless. It ruins relationships, destroys friendships, and often does nothing to fix a problem. So if arguing with your partner is preventing you from having a healthy relationship, letting go of the unimportant things is undoubtedly a great place to start.
Here are three things that are not worth arguing about.
1. Validation And A Desire For Approval.
There’s a beautiful quote from the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, which is extremely relevant when it comes to accepting your partner for who they are. It goes like this:
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”
All too often, we try to adjust our actions and behaviors to please other people. Sure, that’s fine to an extent. But if your self-worth is totally reliant on your partner’s approval, there are certainly some issues that need to be resolved.
“Do I look good in this?” That question often made me tremble with fear. Because if I accidentally gave a bad response that makes her feel insecure, a heated argument was inevitable.
Instead, I’ve discovered that a much better solution is to accept your partner for who they are. That means allowing them to dress how they choose, and to be respectful of any differing opinions (amongst other things).
Because when you stop arguing over little things that don’t really matter, you can spend a lot more time and energy on the things that do. Like Roy T. Bennett once said:
“If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.”
2. Things That Happened In The Past.
I used to keep score of everything that happened. I wanted to maintain the moral high ground all the time. But as a result of getting annoyed by extremely minor things, arguments with my partner were commonplace, and a breakup quickly became inevitable.
Please don’t be like my past self. You cannot change the past. After all, everyone has made mistakes and have done things they deeply regret.However, you can always accept the past and focus on what you can do in the present moment to create a better future. Epictetus said it best:
“There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
At first, this was an extremely difficult mindset shift for me to make. But once I stopped focusing on things that happened in the past, my relationships and social life quickly improved for the better.
Accept everything in life that you can’t change, and focus solely on what you can. Recognize that everyone has imperfections and encourage your partner to do the same. Your relationship will certainly benefit as a result.
3. Petty Nonsense.
This used to annoy me all the time. I’d often get frustrated by my partner wanting to watch boring TV shows or having a slightly different preference in foods to me. But then I realized that it’s normal to have subtle differences between two people in a relationship. If anything, it’s healthy.
Chances are, you can’t change your partner for they are. Then again, you shouldn’t even want to. Instead, you need to love your partner for their strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between.
Stop fighting over petty nonsense. It’s pointless. Because once you realize that everyone has annoying habits (including you), you’ll quickly learn to stop criticizing other people for theirs. In the words of Marcus Aurelius:
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”
Do that, and every aspect of your relationship will quickly improve for the better. So what are you waiting for?