Sunday, April 22, 2012

Avoidance Not The Best Policy

We all have areas in our lives where we are a work in progress; where we need to improve and do better.

For me it is around confrontation and conflict.  I will go to great lengths to avoid both, and yet, as I learned recently, sometimes it is unavoidable and in my efforts to sidestep the issues, I not only made matters worse, but I was insensitive.

Now my husband would be quick to tell you that the root of my problems with conflict is that I am an only child, and so grew up without the dubious pleasure of sibling rivalry and thereby missed the lessons on fighting and standing your ground. He may have a point, not that I would tell him that.

What I do know is that I gravitate to harmony, and while getting better, will often choose not to voice an opinion that will be perceived negatively for the sake of peace.  I am one of the few people I know who fired someone and was so gentle in giving the message that the employee didn’t get she was being dismissed.

So you see I have a long way to go.  However, I realize that I do need to put my “big girl pants on” because in avoiding conflict and confrontations, I am not being authentic or true to myself and not being fair to the other person.

Often when we have a negative message to deliver, we do it badly.  Not because we mean to hurt the other person, but because we want it done, over with.  The trouble is that approach often leads to insensitivity to how the other person feels and the way the message is delivered can become more hurtful and do more damage than the actual message itself.

It is interesting that the latin derivative of conflict and confrontation is con – which means together.  Yet, usually it is not a joint discussion.  It can be very one-sided.

What I have learned from this is to be more aware that there are two perspectives; not to always think of myself first and when you’ve mishandled a situation, apologize.  And I did.

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