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Choosing Your Battles Wisely

By: Kirsty O'Callaghan, Owner, Unity Words

Are you wasting energy on battles you can't win instead of spending your time on more satisfying activities and tasks such as focusing on your goals, deadlines and business commitments?

These ‘battles’ can include our children, partners, work colleagues, family, friends and even people we don’t personally know. The concept of choosing your battles is often brought up in discussions on positive parenting however, it encompasses all aspects of our lives.

So how can we become consciously aware of which battles are worth fighting for? This takes some self reflection to decide why we feel we need to enter the ‘battle field’ on certain issues and what ‘presses our buttons’ and why.

I find a very effective way to look at this is by using ‘The Seven Steps for Overcoming Ego’s Hold on You’, by Dr Wayne W Dyer in his book, The Power of Intention.

I use these steps to check myself as to why I feel the need to go into ‘battle’. If the reason falls into one of the seven categories, I re-evaluate my plan of action.

The 7 steps described within Dr Dyer’s book are as follows:

  • Stop being offended - What offends only weakens you.
  • Let go of your need to win - Winning is impossible all of the time. Someone out there will be faster, luckier, younger, stronger and smarter. You’re not defined by your winnings or your victories.
  • Let go of your need to be right - A good question to ask yourself is, “Do I want to be happy or right?” When you have to be right, it means that you have to make somebody else wrong.
  • Let go of your need to be superior - True nobility isn’t about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you used to be.
  • Let go of your need to have more - When you constantly want more, you never feel satisfied. No matter how much you achieve or acquire, your ego will insist that it isn’t enough.
  • Let go of identifying yourself on the basis of your achievements - Be grateful for the abilities you’ve been given; the motivation to achieve and the stuff you’ve accumulated. The less you need to take credit for your achievements the more peace and gratitude you will feel.
  • Let go of your reputation - Your reputation is not located in you. It resides in the minds of others; you therefore have no control over it. If you’re overly concerned with how you’re going to be perceived by everyone, then you’ve allowed the opinions of others to guide you and your actions.

With these steps in mind, we can ask ourselves if we are going into battle to meet or defend one of these. If so, it may not be a battle worth the wounds or worthy of our energy.

Exercises for further consideration:

  • On a notepad or in a journal write down the most recent confrontations or battles you have found yourself in. Look at the seven steps for overcoming ego’s hold on you and see if one of these was the reason you chose to partake in this battle. If so, think how you could have approached this differently and what would have been the outcome compared to the less than desirable outcome you may have experienced. Would you have chosen this battle at all?
  • If you have found, after reading the above, that you attract situations and battles that fit in one or more of the categories, ask yourself how you can overcome this. What do you need to change that could facilitate a more positive experience for you?

In closing a word from Dr Phil McGraw - from the television series Dr Phil:

“Some battles are none of your business. Some battles you can never win so why try? We all need to adopt a spirit of acceptance to get along. Even though the decision may not be what you want, your acceptance of that decision is a way to have peace. You can pull someone toward your own ideals, but eventually they will pull back to their own instincts. Therefore, have a spirit of acceptance when people’s ideals are different from yours.”


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