Learning to Confront
What do you do when someone does something you don’t like and it directly affects you? This is something that comes up often in relationships at work, home or day to day. There are those that will be upfront and say almost everything all the time, not caring if the issue is even worthy of mention. In these situations I sometimes wonder if it’s possible to be so self centered that one is always only considering their personal impact.
Then there are those that will hold all the information close, never deal with it directly but silently stew on all of the surrounding issues that affect them, over and over again. Maybe that person might tell a few people what happened to upset them and gather a tribe of people that agree with them, but they still never say anything to the offender.
In a conversation a few weeks ago the person I was speaking to said “Conflict is not bad and we need to stop being afraid of it” I wholeheartedly agree. It’s something that I’ve repeated in the days and weeks that followed. Conflict has come up so often that it’s been relevant. We just need to know how to deal with conflict in a healthy way.
The problem with conflict is that people don’t know how to handle differences of opinion. Sadly many people are trained to avoid pain. No one wants to hear that they are the cause of an issue or conflict and many people don’t like to stir up trouble. So instead they keep their thoughts to themselves, avoid the pain of honesty and continue to be passive aggressive. There are those again, on the flip side, that enjoy telling people when they do something wrong. There is a secret satisfaction to knowing that the other person was the offender while they are innocent.
Further complicating the matter could be dealing with people with bad habits, personality or mood disorders and finding the time to go in depth when bringing such difficult things to someone’s attention. Most of us would rather go through our days and weeks without ill feelings clouding our day to day.
As much as I personally understand this, I think it’s still most valuable to at least share with someone if they are doing something that upsets or hurts you. Pick your battles and your times. If it’s something that’s a one off thing it might be worth ignoring and if it’s happening repeatedly and affecting your life then you owe it to yourself to be honest. How they deal with it is on them if you’ve done your part in speaking tactfully with both of your interests in mind. Give people a chance to share their point of view on the situation. More often things are misunderstandings that never get cleared up because they’re never spoken aloud. A deep issue needs exposure, time and patience to get to the bottom of.
If you’re willing to tell others the difficult things they are doing to disrupt your life then you should be able to handle when people come to you with similar issues that you’ve created. None of us are immune from hurting others and so as we grow and are in process we need to be willing to be patient with others and develop greater honesty with ourselves.
How do you deal with conflict?