While I like to think that I’m not a cocky or arrogant person, I will admit to being good at a few things. Among those are strong logic skills, the ability to help others through conflict, and mediating conflict with a relatively clear head. You know what else I’m good at? Arguing. I’ve been told my whole life that I should be a lawyer because of my logic and argumentation skills.
I have a degree in Communication which specializes in the interpersonal variety. I spent 4 years studying human communication in regards to relationships, conflict, business, broadcasting, and the list goes on. I had a pretty decent GPA at the end of it, and I am proud of myself for the work I did.
Unfortunately, this very expensive education had little to no effect on my own personal experience with conflict. I fail in minor areas such as not being able to see the logic through the rage, getting frazzled and overwhelmed and outraged by all of the many thoughts going through my mind and whatever you just said, and getting tongue-tied out of utter confusion that someone else could POSSIBLY think whatever it is that I don’t agree with. Possibly worst of all, instead of truly believing the fact that I am an adult on the same level as other adults, I make up hierarchies of people in my head and don’t allow myself to get past it. This includes most people of authority, the parents of people my age, and any adult who knew me as a child.
Instead of putting that pricy education to good use and learning how to grow up and emotionally protect myself and my family, I have learned some very bad coping practices. I either do nothing at all out of fear of embarrassing myself, not saying the right thing, or worst of all, hurting someone’s feelings, or I try to argue my points but falter because of the afore-mentioned frustration. I am the queen of “I should have said/done/mentioned/brought up ______. That would have shown them!”
Though I know it will shock you, this sort of behavior brings out many unhealthy habits. I am guilty of slander and gossip. Of stuffing frustration and letting it linger and build. Of inviting bitterness into my heart and allowing it to build and shape me. Of being afraid to live my life the way that God leads me to out of fear for upsetting others or disrupting their expectations of me. Of disregarding my husband’s feelings because I know he will forgive me, while I’m afraid others won’t. (<– the WORST.)
As Christians, we care called to mature conflict. As adults, it is expected in order to thrive in community with others.
God expects more out of His children than this. We’re not supposed to be cowards, but I so am. Regardless of the fact that history (and God Himself) has shown that God will always be on our side when we act justly and wisely in His name. History has also shown that the most respected and trusted people are those who aren’t afraid to be themselves, speak their minds maturely, and keep negative words against others at bay.
So knowing this, what am I so afraid of? Who am I more willing to disappoint?
Or everyone else?
Something’s gotta give. This is bad for me and bad for my family and bad for whoever I am frustrated with.
I am resolving to more phone calls and coffee dates with the source of my frustration and not about the source of my frustration. To better assessment of when to act and when to let it go. To be stronger and less afraid to stand up for myself and rid of unhealthy relationships, but mostly unhealthy situations. This is because I truly believe that things would be better if we were on the same page instead of me stuffing my anger. I truly believe that relationships thrive in mutual respect and much much less passive aggression. I’m resolving to command more respect for myself from others, and to stop allowing myself to be stomped on be everyone who tries, regardless of my own perceived hierarchy.
I’m resolving to start acting like the adult that I am.
Solidarity? Anyone else handle conflict like a child? Ugh, this is going to take work….and liquid courage from time to time.