Recently one of my students came to me angry about very wrongful treatment from her employer. At this point in the process the government was to get involved. She told me she was concerned about her temper at the government meeting. I told her she should be. Although her anger is justified losing her cool would only undermine her argument.
The important thing to remember when we have been wronged is that we deserve to have our perspective respected. When we are reactive we lose our eloquence and undermine our intelligence.
Frankly I try to use the same technique in all my disagreements, even with husband. I know that if react I will say things that I don’t mean. Then the validity of my feelings will be lost because I was disrespectful. Being disrespectful makes others defensive.
A key aspect in effective communication is allowing the other to see your perspective. This is not done by yelling back, it is done by inviting in.
My student needed to invite the government official into her perspective. In doing so they should support her because she was indeed being ripped off by her employer.
If you can help it, never lose your cool. Stand firm in the confidence that comes with treating others respectfully.
By the same token its also useful to come into an altercation prepared to listen and see things from the other’s perspective and potentially change our own. I practice putting peace above my ego.