You can hardly go anywhere these days without someone wanting to talk politics: local, national, global. The internet keeps us apprised of seemingly everything that’s happening everywhere on the planet at every instant--every tweet, photo-op (legit or not) and glitch.

All this is fine if it weren’t for the fact that we all, each and every one of us, have an opinion about the latest bit of political whatever. A friend of mine was telling me in no uncertain terms that I was wrong, just dead wrong, about my opinion, and began to enumerate all the reasons why she was right. I was lining up my counter-reasons in my head, all set to pepper her with how wrong she was, when suddenly my inner Obi-Wan Kenobi popped up with; “Take the high ground . . Is it worth it?”

Screech! (Sound of mental brakes.) I looked at my dear friend, whom I love for a gazillion reasons, and realized no, it’s not worth it! I’m never going to budge her from her opinion, and all the resulting argument would have done was wrench my stomach and hurt my heart. All for nothing.

I switched my focus. Sounds easy, just four little words, but it’s probably one of the most challenging things I’ve learned to do – and still must practice consistently. I admired my friend’s passion for her stance, her ability to articulate it so fully and her ardent desire to communicate it to me. Which allowed me to calmly, with a decent amount of humor, present my thoughts. No arguing, no “you’re wrong,” just an Obi-Wan Kenobi-esque civilized reply.

There are umpteen situations in which asking “Is it worth it?” can help you avoid unnecessary stress and misery. When that jerk cuts you off in traffic waving a hand with a certain finger rigidly upheld, instead of responding in kind, asking “Is it worth it?” allows you to just let it go. He/she’s the jerk, not you. Or you’re standing in what you think is the returns line only to find out it’s the pick-up line, and you have to start all over. You can get irate and grouchy (thereby ruining your day), or you can ask yourself “Is it worth it?” chalk it up to experience, and continue on to a pleasant day.

Any time you find yourself getting irritated, angry, annoyed or defensive, ask yourself first, “Is it worth it?” If it isn’t, either let it go, or find a calm, preferably humorous way to address whatever got you going. And if it is “worth it,” then marshal your thoughts with care, and communicate them with as little emotional upheaval as you can.

You may be surprised at how much isn’t “worth it.”

Thank you, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right” (MindLab Publishing). You Matter. You Count. You Are Important. Visit,, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson