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'Faggedabowdit': Mental Health's Best Tool

03/06/2014 11:03 am ET | Updated May 06, 2014
  • Dr. Michael R. Mantell Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences, American Council on Exercise, best-selling author and international behavior science presenter and keynote speaker

Righteous indignation. Proving your point. Being right. Holding On. Never letting go. Beating a dead horse. Having to win. Always coming out on top. Having to have the last word. Sound familiar? Then this column is surely for you.

Peace is often described as the single greatest good. Peace. You know that tranquil, serene, quiet sense of contentment... that always seems to escape you? Peace. Why is it that so many people seem to have amicable, agreeable, easygoing, friendly relationships... except for you? Peace. That still, accommodating, conciliatory, relaxed feeling... that you never seem to have.

So you don't feel you are a diplomat, a conciliator, a pacifist or a negotiator among your fellow man. But why not? Let's face it. Aren't we supposed to be a peace-loving, peace-promoting and peaceful people? So why must we always be right, always win, never give in, and constantly have the last word? Don't you see the contradiction? Peace and never letting go are totally incompatible in interpersonal relations.

Here is an all-too-common situation. George offers a thought, opinion or view that you believe is completely inaccurate, ill informed or simply misguided. What do you do? Of course, you volunteer your thoughts on the subject and, not being a lamb, a wimp or otherwise a doormat, you tell old George that he is wrong.

What does George do? He persists in attempting to convince you of his viewpoint. You, naturally, will never let him be successful in this endeavor and instead, completely give in to the impulse to argue your point.

To what end? Peace? Surely not. What will not letting go do for you besides raise your blood pressure, turn your feelings into anger and frustration and otherwise disturb your inner sense of peace... not to mention turn your friend George into an enemy, at least temporarily?

What would you really lose if you used one of my favorite mental health tools, the good old, "faggedabowdit" technique and simply went on to another subject? You would lose nothing except the chance for aggravation in your life.

Someone does something "wrong" in your eyes. You tell her about it. She argues that she is correct and you are wrong. You want peace? Faggedabowdit. You think you can really convince her?

You see a movie with a friend. Your friend tells you this movie you loved and thought was the greatest ever, was terribly done, had poor acting, and a lousy script. You want peace? Faggedabowdit. You think you are a movie critic?

You come home looking forward to a wonderful dinner. Your wife -- or husband, since we have to be politically correct -- prepares less than a desirable meal. You want peace? Faggedabowdit. Is this the last supper?

You just bought a brand new car. You love it. You shopped and shopped and not only do you believe you got a great deal, you believe the car is the best thing on the road. Your friend tells you that you overpaid and he read a poor review about your new chariot. You want peace? Faggedabowdit. You think what he says will make any difference in your driving life?

You discuss the 2016 presidential election with your neighbor. You get into a debate about school vouchers. Your neighbor takes one position and you see he is ready to argue until next New Year's Eve. You want peace? Faggedabowdit. Since when are you the head of your candidate's campaign?

The need, the demand, to have the last word, the belief you must be right all of the time, that you have to prove that your friend is wrong, that you should have the last word in every situation is a disease. It will make your life filled with hostility, contentiousness, belligerence, and a cacophony of negative emotions... all of which will shorten your life span. You want peace? Faggedabowdit. Who appointed you king, anyway?

Let go of this need to prove you are right. If you are, and you know it, in most situations, that should be enough. Especially if it's peace you want. When you do use top-rated (by me, anyway) mental health tool, the concept of faggedabowdit, you will see that, within minutes or hours, it simply doesn't matter any more.

Remember this important principle that often applies in life: "Peace is more important than truth." And that's my final word on the subject. Don't agree? Faggedabowdit.

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