Posted in Life

NOTE TO SELF: FAIL FORWARD

Taking risks, trying things, taking knocks on the chin… rolling with the punches and persevering.. how many quotes and platitudes can we spit out from the top of our heads in under a minute? I have got at least 20-25! Failing Forward resonated with me today as I think about the goals I want to set for 2020 and beyond.

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ROARING 2020s

For most of us, this month is the last few pages of the 2019 Chapter, but it is a bit more than that. It is the last few pages of a decade. The Roaring ’20s 2.0 are upon us! It’s quite remarkable when you think about it that way, isn’t it? Looking back from 2009 to 2019, so much has changed – not just with society, but with ourselves.   Think about 2009 you versus 2019 you… (exactly!) The technological surge has facilitated the sharing of ideas, support, and awareness of so many crucial components to human development. This is the positive side of the rise in social media. It is also providing all of us the opportunity to align ourselves with positive people that we can learn from and help us grow as individuals – world wide! That’s EPIC!

FAILING FORWARD

What does all this have to do with “failing forward,” so far? Well, EVERYTHING! We have so many resources out there that is mostly free to tap into. Although the world is full of naysayers and haters (most of which we are well acquainted and sometimes related to), there are good positive, motivating and encouraging people out there that are willing to help you along your journey. With that being said, I’m going to bypass the platitude, “don’t be afraid to try” and say to you, from this moment on, ‘Don’t be afraid to fail’… it’s an opportunity to learn, it’s an opportunity to grow and it is an opportunity to evolve. You are also no alone!

GO FOR IT

What ever it is that you have been afraid to shoot for, just do it. Failing Forward perspective is simply accepting you have noting to lose and everything to gain. If you haven’t succeeded at the first shot, congratulate yourself – most people won’t even try: and, most importantly, you walk away with experience and a new level of awareness you did not have before hand. The first time for anything is always the hardest. What’s so unique about living in this time frame is that you can always find support and allies – a community of like minded perfect strangers willing to lend an ear and share their experience with you.

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CHALLENGE

Use what is available to you and give whatever it is you have been secretly wanting and suppressing for whatever reason, a real shot! Nothing to lose and everything to gain. Dreams are amazing and are so significant and special, because their yours. They are wrapped in your wonder, splendor and hope… nurtured with the purest childlike heart that we all still possess. Why not nurture your dreams in reality? Fail forward for 2020… not trying at all is failure in its purest form by default.

Posted in Life

Self Awareness Quick Check: What drives you?

How we define ourselves and what drives us goes hand in hand; but eventually, this changes as we progress in life.  We all get older.  Children grow and eventually take care of us.  We retire from our careers. Some of us downsize; and then…. What?  If we do not periodically stop and assess what drives us, we can look back and find ourselves believing our best years have passed us by.  These rites of passage are inevitable and it is okay to accept it as something positive.  We must examine ourselves and discover who we are right here, and right now.  The version of yourself reading this blog is certainly not the same you as 2009, or 1999… and your future self in 2029 will not be the same as you are now.   What is your motivator?

What drives you?

This question is a question that we should all ask ourselves.  Life is ever changing and therefore our circumstances and our roles change along with it.  What once motivated us may not be an effective motivator today.  Without motivation, we develop a void with people, places and things; all of which, are fleeting and temporary fixes.  We get addicted to peaks and valleys of “happiness” and “emptiness.”  Or sometimes, we disconnect and go through our days on auto-pilot – not really living, but just existing like a buoy in the water.

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Photo by Trygve Finkelsen on Pexels.com

Have you ever asked yourself that question?  Is it your career, your family, or recognition?  Is it something else?  Is it a foreign concept that you have never bothered to ask yourself before?  Or, has it been quite a while since you have asked yourself that question?  Is it a scary concept to even think about?  Introspection is possibly the most fearsome journey any of us will ever take.  Taking a look inside of us and discovering what drives us incites fear of what we might find.  Ultimately, what we find are parts of ourselves that we have forgotten, neglected or ignored.   These parts of ourselves can subconsciously influence what drives us.  It may seem harmless for a time, but when life shifts – the cracks begin to show and it can be traumatizing.

What is important to you?  Why?  What are your strengths?  What would you like to contribute to your loved ones and your community?  Do you have any dreams that you have not fulfilled?  Is it time to revisit them?

Just a few questions to self that are worth asking and pondering.  Perhaps, these answers are worth writing down.

 

 

Posted in Life

Notes to Strangers: Decision Time

We are creatures of habit.  This is what makes healthy habits so vital to us.  Healthy habits facilitate happiness and fulfillment.  When we continue on the path of “functioning in dysfunction” until we end up at a crossroads much like an addict that hits rock bottom with nowhere else to go.  A path must be chosen.  Do I go away to school?  Do actually marry this person?  Do I get a divorce? Do I reinvent myself?  Do I put myself out there again?

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These questions can debilitate us because they are loaded with with unknown.  Sometimes, this limbo can be comfortable, and other times, we tolerate the pain because familiarity is all we have left to hold on to.  The danger in doing that is, you cause yourself more pain and anguish.  You also stunt your growth as a person.  Stunting your growth as a person can cause great dis-ease in yourself.  It can lead to depression or worse, despair.

Making a move can be so scary, whether literally or figuratively.  It is inevitable, though.  Some of us are afraid of change and others are afraid of making a mistake, but how else do we learn from experience?  Being brave enough to decide which direction you want to go clears away a good amount of the anxious “what if” static in our heads.  The path becomes clearer and we save ourselves the pain of letting circumstance choose.  If we ride the fence long enough, it breaks from the weight of our baggage and we have to be reactive, rather than proactive.

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Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Reactive responses to situations do not bring about the most favorable results for us.  Reactive responses tend to take us the long way around the barn.  If that sounds like you, don’t fret.  There are lessons to be learned along the way, but going forward, note that waiting for circumstance to make a decision for you can cost you a lot more than you bargained for and you can save yourself all the trouble by being honest with yourself about what needs to be done.

We tend to let circumstance decide for us:

  • when we are afraid of the unknown
  • when we are afraid of what others may think or feel
  • the challenges that come along with our decision
  • faith and perspective: confidence in ourselves to take on a different direction.

The unknown and the known can bridged by taking a leap of faith.  The known has prompted this contemplation of taking a new direction.  The opinions and feelings of others is not our responsibility.  There are times where some decisions will have to be made for our own well being.  We cannot pour from an empty cup.  Challenges arise with any and every new endeavor and sometimes we may find ourselves having to be our own cheerleaders for a time.  Perhaps the support we need may come from sources we least expect, but it’s out there.  Faith and perspective is what facilitates focus.  When we focus, there is little to nothing we cannot accomplish.

Need some support in a new endeavor in life?  Drop a line.  Let’s talk.

 

Posted in Life

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT4: Sexual Violence

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Sexual violence is often misconstrued as gender based it is perceived that sexual violence is male on female.  The truth is, most *reported cases are male against female, but we truly do not know the statistics simply because the majority of the cases are not reported.  Sexual violence can be person against person in any combination of gender or sex.  As the late great Carl Sagan says:

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

All types of abuse may yield of level of shame, but sexual abuse is by far the most pervasive in conjunction with off putting confusion.  It may seem self-explanatory, but what is Sexual Violence?  When the term sexual assault comes to mind, what do we automatically think about?  Rape.  When we think about rape, a default scenario comes to mind where some creepy deviant lurking in the shadows comes up from behind with a weapon or bonks some poor unsuspecting female over the head and penetrates her.   That does happen.  And yes, it is rape.  What most frequently happens, however, is that the rapist/abuser is someone known to the survivor.  It could be a relative or even a spouse.

Spousal rape is a thing.  It took society quite a while to grasp that concept.  Legislation on Marital Rape being illegal throughout the United States occurred in 1993.  Although two people are married and are joined, does not mean that one has the right force themselves upon the other or force the other spouse to commit sexual acts against their will which includes sodomy or oral sex.  Any unsolicited sexual act, touching or fondling of any kind (it does NOT have to be penetration) is a violation of an individual’s personal space regardless who it is.

For better or for worse

It is a difficult predicament to be in when a person is being sexually violated by their spouse because there is an onslaught of mixed emotions and social conditioning that somehow Marital Rape is part of the “for worse” part of the wedding vows.  That’s just not true.  Marital Rape is a thing and it is more common than we think.   For information, please see the links below, or feel free to reach out to me if you would like to more information on the topic.

You are an individual.  You are no one’s property and NO means NO

RAINN

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Quick Guide: Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse

5 Statistics That’ll Change How You Think About Marital Rape

Posted in Life, lifestyle, Relationships

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT 3: Using Children

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Violence comes in many forms.  Some forms of violence don’t involve physical injury but the effects of non-physical violence can leave scars and wounds that last long after the relationship.  There are many factors that contribute to the inability to sever ties abruptly.  It can be very hard for people to understand unless they have found themselves in the same or similar situation.

Staying together for the kids

Abuse is often about power and leverage.  When children are involved, abusers often use the children as leverage to gain control.  Threatening to turn the children against a parent, or making a partner feel guilty for wanting to leave by insinuating they are breaking up the family are two very common manipulations abuser use to keep their partner from ending the relationship.  It is a natural desire to want to keep the family together or have both parents present in the lives of the children, but if the risks of harm outweigh the benefits, then taking some time to assess the current state of affairs may be a great idea.

If there is a combination of abuse taking place like, for example, verbal, physical, financial, etc, it can create a very toxic environment that may influence and manifest in your children’s behavior.  It may also have long lasting effects that manifest later in the child’s adulthood.  This is a factor that must also be considered when deliberating on whether to stay or go.  Financial exploitation or abuse often comes hand in hand with using children.  This can be a very difficult situation with a stay at home mom, for example whose job was child-rearing while the spouse was the bread winner.  Another notable technique is not allowing the other parent to see the children unless they comply with a request like for example, move back into the house.

Using the children is extremely cruel and exacerbates emotional, psychological and physiological well-being.  The children should not be used as messengers and visitation should not be used as an opportunity to engage.  A common myth is that this is just part of the territory when couples break up.  This is simply not true.  None of this is okay.  Even if this is as bad as it gets on the Wheel of Power & Privilege, make no mistake – it is still a form of abuse.

I have provided links below if you are interested in finding out more information.  Both organizations can help refer some local contacts if need be.  If you have any questions, you are free to reach out to me as well.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Family Solutions  – Father’s Rights

Posted in Life

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT 1: Emotional Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In an attempt to provide a conceptual framework of what abuse actually is, and how to identify it, I will be writing a post on each aspect of what encompasses abuse.  Abuse is so much more than a man putting his hands on a woman he supposedly loves; while physical abuse is the most conspicuous, there are other types of abuse that are far more nefarious. Today, we will discuss Emotional Abuse which is far more traumatic and the staggering effects can last for years after the relationship has ended.

What is Domestic Violence?

Before we get into it, I would like to preface that Domestic Violence is an archaic term because it spans gender only.  A man could be abused by the woman he loves.  The violence can occur in a homosexual relationship as well and therefore we must abandon the concept that it is a “man whose being abusive to his female partner.”  An abuser can be anyone, any sex or gender.  Period!  Once we unlearn that stereotypical scenario, it is only fitting to refer to “Domestic Violence” as “Intimate Partner Violence.

Now that this has been established, please note that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has classified Intimate Partner Violence as a disease.  The CDC cites:

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans. The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

CDC’s research and programs work to understand the problem of intimate partner violence and prevent it before it begins.

For more information on the CDC cite, please click -> Preventing Intimate Partner Violence

 

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

This old proverb stands true beyond what we can comprehend when it comes to Intimate Partner Violence.  It also begs the question, “how can we prevent it?”  Well, the first step to addressing a problem is to identify it.  How can we change something if we do not know what it is?  When we think about how once humans identified the existence of germs and understood if we didn’t wash our hands, we could be infected, the same concept can be applied to Intimate Partner Violence.  When we put it that way, it make sense why it is listed on the CDC as a disease.  It can be prevented in all its forms, if we all understand what it is and expand our understanding beyond a person physically assaulting another person.  It can also be contagious.  We will discuss that at the end of the series.

Identifying Emotional Abuse

  • Being put down
  • Making you feel bad about yourself
  • Being called names
  • Playing mind games
  • Making you feel guilty
  • Humiliation
  • Questioning your identity
  • Reinforcing internalized phobias and “isms”

In my opinion, the last two bullet points should have their own category because if we find ourselves questioning our identity and reinforcing internalized phobias, it is a tactic called “GASLIGHTING.”   – click to learn more. 

I will attempt to make this post as short as possible, but to give you a quick bullet point synopsis from Psychology Today

Gaslighting Symptoms:

1. They tell blatant lies.

 

“It wasn’t me you saw”

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof. 

“That’s not me on the video”

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

“Your mom was right about you.”

4. They wear you down over time.

” I’m the only one who really cares.  I’m all you have.”

5. Their actions do not match their words.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you.  I’ll never do it again.”

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. 

“After being called horrific names, you are told you are the best thing that ever happened to them.”

7. They know confusion weakens people.

The amount of effort and energy spent seeking some way to please or gain stability in the dysfunction is exhausting and eventually the exhaustion can turn into surrender.

8. They project.

“You’re cheating on me.  You’re lying to me.  You’re so disloyal”  – but it’s actually them.

9. They try to align people against you.

“See what I have to go through.  There’s always drama with him/her.  She/he always ruins the moment.”

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

“He/she is always paranoid about what I’m doing.  She/he is just crazy.”

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

“They are all just jealous.  They don’t want to see us happy.”

Abusers will often use intimate details we have disclosed to them against us to hurt us or disarm us in an argument without remorse.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

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It is a natural reaction to attempt to modify our behavior to circumvent an abusive incident.  We may attempt to identify their triggers because we believe that if we are proactive and learn to walk on egg shells or avoid doing what set them off, then it won’t happen again.  As we continue to do this to no avail, we exhaust ourselves and somehow feel like a failure.

It is a natural reaction to attempt to modify our behavior to circumvent an abusive incident.  We may attempt to identify their triggers because we believe that if we are proactive and learn to walk on egg shells or avoid doing what set them off, then it won’t happen again.  As we continue to do this to no avail, we exhaust ourselves and somehow feel like a failure.

We CANNOT “fix” anyone or “make” them do anything.

We are not responsible for the behavior of others.  Just because we love someone does not mean we must endure this behavior. If you would like more information on EMOTIONAL ABUSE, please see the links below that I have provided.  If you have the time, please read.  This information can be a matter of life and death, if not for you,… perhaps someone you know.  Knowing is half the battle.

Forms of Emotional and Verbal Abuse You May Be Overlooking

National Domestic Violence Hotline

What is Gaslighting?

Insidious Goals of Gaslighting

When Is It Emotional Abuse?

Contagion of Violence: Workshop Summary

If you or someone you know are in an emotionally abusive relationship, please visit the National Domestic Hotline or call 800-799-SAFE (7233).  This national organization is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can speak in confidence and they can provide you with a wealth of information.  Whether it is for you or someone else you know, please understand there is help out there and you are not alone.

Posted in Life

YES: I’m thinking about NO

A friend of mine posted a very interesting meme the other day.  It provoked quite a bit of thought and introspect for me and it also inspired me to share my thoughts with you.

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One of the harder things about “Adulting,” I find, is the acquiescing we do for others.  We will say, “yes” despite not wanting to.  We will do things and put ourselves in situations that we do not enjoy out of some perceived obligation.

Is it really obligation or is it fear?

Although we age and are supposed to become more mature, there is a bit of mob/tribe mentality that follows us.  The fear of disappointing someone or not being liked because we say “no” is repackaged in obligation.  There is a hefty price to pay as a result:  stress, anxiety, energy and time.

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When we were younger, we had time and energy to acquiesce to the multitudes of requests and demands from family, teachers and friends; but as we get older, those same 24 hours a day don’t seem to be enough anymore as our YES exceeds our physical, emotional and psychological limits.  We neglect ourselves and we ultimately break down.

Some of us may lash out – only to be met with a dumbfounded response and insinuation that we are overacting somehow.

Some of us may grow resentful and engage in passive aggressive behavior; which, ultimately is a toxic vicious cycle from which nothing good can come.

Some of us may suffer in complete silence until our bodies lash out, by way of illness like: high blood pressure, stroke, anxiety attacks, palpitations, insomnia etc.

Is the fear worth it?

Gauging the cost of saying yes to certain people or circumstance, whether it be your family, significant other, or your boss is essential to your well-being.  Surely, no one likes to be told no for anything, but in the grander scheme of things, they will understand if you must decline.  If they choose not to understand, then CONGRATULATIONS!  You have just weeded out someone who has been taking full advantage of your inability to say no and you can implement new boundaries accordingly.

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Is it really that hard?

The first time is the hardest.  Your second time at the rodeo – not so much and so on and so forth.  It is a practice, much like handwriting.  You put it the effort and it becomes as effortless as it is to sign your name on the dotted line and you’ll wonder why you didn’t learn this sooner.

Are you having problems saying no?

Let’s talk about it.

Posted in Life

Negativity: What Can We Do About It?

Most of us try to dodge negativity like Neo in The Matrix but that’s not always possible. If you’re subjected to a negative environment at school, work, or at home, there isn’t much you can do to avoid it or the people in it. Which begs the question: how do we deal with negative people making the environment negative?

It all starts in the mind. Negativity can be contagious because for negative and/or miserable people, negativity and misery is no good unless you spread it – like a virus!

You can choose to feed into the the negativity or you can starve it. Feeding into it, would be internalizing the negativity. Starving the negativity is a conscious choice to limit your interaction or engagement to only what is deemed necessary.  Much like when someone who has the flu decides to come to work.  We are fully aware of the person who is sick.  It is apparent by the obvious symptoms – so what do we do?  We take measure to ensure that we do not become infected as well.

Some may wear a face mask to prevent the virus from entering their body.  In this case, we can prevent the negativity from invading our minds and our moods by not saying  much, if at all, to prevent any contention.  Hurt people tend to hurt people.  If they are negative from the door, we cannot possibly be the root cause of it; we also do not have to  contribute to it or be roped into it.  Nothing good can come from that.

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As hard as it may be at first, it is paramount to focus on why you are present.  If you are experiencing this type of environment at school, remind yourself that you are at school to learn and that eventually you are probably not ever going to see these people after you graduate and whatever they think, say, or do, will not matter in 5 years.

If you are experiencing this type of environment at work, keep conversations strictly professional.  These people aren’t your friends or family.  You only know them and interact with them because you are being paid to show up and do that for a purpose.  Concentrate on the job.  Chances are, you would never know, or engage with these people if it weren’t for your profession; instead, focus on why you show up every day like: your family, or buying a house, paying your way through school, etc.

Make a conscious decision each day to choose your future over the current negative environment.  Remember you are doing this for a reason.

There are a couple of techniques that can help diffuse the negativity.  Think of it as, antibacterial/antiviral protection.

  1.  You can take some time out to pray before you enter the environment.  Getting into the habit of praying before you enter the negative environment can ease your anxiety and help you to focus throughout the day and navigate through the negativity.
  2. Things like a Vision Board, visual Countdown, Gratitude Journal or marking your calendar to mark your progress.  A visual display serves as reminder that your days of unpleasantness are numbered: you have goals and this is just another stop along the road.  Keeping that in mind will help you refrain from engaging in any negativity that will not help your future self.
  3.  Take breaks and get some air.  Sometimes psychically removing yourself from the negative vibe in the room and taking a couple deep breaths can help replenish your disposition.

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If the situation is more dire, than seeking help to talk to someone about what you are experiencing can be quite helpful.  If someone familiar to you is unavailable or if you don’t have anyone you can talk to, you can call a hotline and get counseling.  It may help to speak to someone unfamiliar who will not judge and who can provide you with information and techniques that will empower you and help you to effectively deal with the situation at hand.  Need help or would you like to discuss this further with me?  Comment or e-mail me.  I would love to hear from you!

Posted in Life, lifestyle, Social, thoughts

Note to the Lonely

“I’m lonely” is a phrase I have grown a custom to hearing on a daily basis.  It’s perplexing considering Earth is populated with an estimated 7 billion people.  Right here in my immediate geographical area, there is just about 12 million or so residents.

Between the high population of productive people and the apex of technology, how could this be?  All the tools that are intended to bring us together somehow alienates us.   Please forgive my Johnny Come Lately statement as we all know this narrative is quite familiar.

The caveat is intimacy.   Tangible interactions are seriously lacking.  We have somehow traded that away for fiber optics and the fleeting dopamine reaction from someone hitting the like button on our posts.  Now that we wrapped it up in a neat little bow…  what can we do about it?

For starters, we can go grass roots with it.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great activity that promotes wellness.  It is actually scientifically proven.  Aside from the warm and fuzzy feeling you get for helping and making a positive impact, you are out interacting with genuine people.  Depending on what type of community service you are decide to do, you can reap the trifecta of benefits that nourish you mind body and spirit.Charity Donations Fundraising Nonprofit Volunteer Concept

Adopt a Pet

Adopting a pet has tremendous benefits.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI wrote a great article called The Power of Pet Therapy.  Pets are good to relieve anxiety, depression, and traumatic experiences.  If you are just lonely or you live alone, having a pet offers companionship and loving member of your household to come home to that is always happy to see you.  Having a dog in particular can encourage you to get out and get some fresh air and be active and perhaps meet new people too!

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Photo by Charles Roth on Pexels.com

Take a class

Pick a class!   Any class!  It doesn’t have to be gym class.  It could be a cooking class, dancing class, painting class, acting class, or self-defense class.  Maybe even a social group that meets up every now and again, like a book club.

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Taking a class is a great way to expand your knowledge, develop a new skill and meet new people in the process.  Our entire social sphere was built on taking classes. We learned to socialize by being in class from kindergarten through college.  As adults, it becomes more challenging to meet people – especially since we are no longer in school.  So, why not take something up that interests you where you can cannot with other people that have similar interest?

Mentor

This may fall under volunteering, but I think it deserves its own paragraph. Matching up with someone to mentor is a great fulfilling experience.  There is an invaluable social exchange that happens in that dynamic that impacts the lives of both parties involved.  Sharing our experience with others and helping them hone and shape their own personal vision can be quite rewarding bond.

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We can get so stuck in our current predicaments that we do not see the possibilities available to us to live a more rewarding life.  While you may feel lonely, there are people out there that would greatly appreciate spending time with you and getting to know you.  There are people out there who would love to converse and exchange ideas.  There are people out there you could inspire with your own experience.  There are people out there who would not feel so alone with you in their lives.

Posted in Dating, Life, Relationships

Confrontation

confrontation

[ kon-fruh n-tey-shuh n, -fruhn- ]

|

noun

  1. an act of confronting.
  2. the state of being confronted.
  3. a meeting of persons face to face.
  4. an open conflict of opposing ideas, forces, etc.
  5. a bringing together of ideas, themes, etc., for comparison.
  6. a technique used in group therapy, as in encounter groups, in which one is forced to recognize one’s shortcomings and their possible consequences.

 

Confrontation has been given a very bad rap in our culture.  Confrontation has such a bad rap that people tend to avoid it all together.  This can be very dangerous.  To explain the dangers of confrontation, we must first fully understand what it means and put it in context.  Contrary to popular belief, CONFRONTATION ≠ FIGHT.  In layman’s terms, confrontation is a meeting of the minds that hold opposing views, it’s not a fight/argument.  It can be a debate… but it’s not necessarily that either.

“Can a confrontation turn into a fight?”

Absolutely! In fact, it is a common occurrence for a number of reasons but the square root of all confrontations giving way to fights is simply because of lack of communication.  Confrontation, is a form of communication where one party is expressing their point of view to another party who has an opposing point of view.   

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When one party suppresses their point of view in hopes the other party will “come around,” the relationship is set on a collision course.  One party becomes continually disappointed by the other party’s ambivalence or indifference.  It’s like putting all your junk in the junk closet and closing the door until finally that last bit of junk causes the door to bust open and all the junk comes tumbling out.  At that point everything (emotionally) including the kitchen sink comes out and causes significant and sometimes permanent damage or irreparable damage to the relationship dynamic.  So…

“How do we avoid a fight?”

The best way to avoid a fight, is to engage in confrontation within a reasonable amount of time.  Expressing your point of view (respectfully) in the moment or within a reasonable amount of time lets all parties know where you stand.  Assumption during a confrontation is like throwing water on a grease fire, so it’s best to avoid assuming anything.  See something, say something!  State the facts.

“When you do _____, I feel like _____ and I don’t like it.”

Making a simple declaration of your point of view sets the tone, it sets boundaries, and it also leaves very little room for the other party to continue on oblivious to where you stand on the issue at hand.   It also starts a dialogue which is an avenue to understanding.

Naturally what we are discussing here is not (unfortunately) a cure all, but weeding out what causes a molehill to become a mountain yields healthier relationship dynamics and a more positive life experience.  It’s easier to call something out as it is happening than to indict a party with a list of repeat offenses that they were not even aware were offenses because if you call someone out on “always doing _____” they will feel blindsided and get defensive which increases the chances of causing a fight.

“Be Prepared to Disagree”

Fear of confrontation also stems from a fear of rejection.  Will they still like me?  We cannot convince everyone to see things our way.  Everyone is different.  Everyone processes things differently: values, priorities, beliefs, and philosophies.  Sometimes after a confrontation we have to accept that we will have to agree to disagree.  Confrontation is not about convincing someone to agree with you.  It’s about stating your point of view and defining your values and boundaries in the process.  This is important because a gauge of conduct is created.  If both parties mutually respect each other’s point of view, they learn how to work through their opposing views respectfully thus keeping the relationship dynamic intact.  Agreeing to disagree forges mutual respect because both parties feel valued when their points of view are heard despite the opposition: that is what we want in a relationship dynamic.  We want to feel valued and to feel heard.  Unfortunately, feeling valued and heard does not mean that everyone will agree.  But is that really such a bad thing?

Confrontation can be healthy and successful without fighting if we get enough courage to communicate and not sweep it under the rug.  Also, a resolution is possible, so long as both parties understand that the confrontation is not about persuasion.  Confrontation is about expression of opposing point of views.  When all the cards are on the table, it is easier for both parties to navigate through the relationship dynamic without damaging it.

Are you comfortable with confrontation?  If not, don’t worry.  It’s a skill, like learning how to write.  You don’t have to be the best at it, but it is a vital and effective communication tool.  Would you like to learn more?  I’d love to hear from you!  Be Well!