“GASP! Don’t look over there… She’s walking right behind you. When was the last time you saw her anyway?”
(Quickly pondering what actually happened. Why are we not speaking? Did I do something wrong? Are we going crazy?)
There’s clearly a natural gene in the human condition that avoids discomfort at all cost. Whether it’s the hazy lag that gets in the way of that week-long clean laundry pile waiting to be folded, or the creepy little demon inside our heads constantly manufacturing fear-based myths, we all struggle with confrontation in one way or another. But for right now, let’s dim the lights and spotlight interpersonal confrontation… and why it’s a GOOD thing!
For some, this term has an aggressive connotation, for others this practice has been voted off the island as a means of keeping the “peace.” However in the hot or cold guessing game, we may be approaching “do not enter” arctic temperatures in the multi-directional search for harmony, connectedness, openness and authenticity in our walk.
So here are, in my opinion, the TOP FOUR MYTHS about confrontation-vs-avoidance:
1) RUB THE AVOIDANCE BOTTLE + IT WILL DISAPPEAR
Unfortunately for those of us who don’t live in the good ol’ Tom and Jerry cartoon-strips where the page turns and an object magically disappears, the vain act of pretending might not do the trick.
Avoidance is an irrelevant fix that disguises as something that will buy time. Like a band aid on a massive bloody dog bite. Eventually, the quick patch will swell up and fall off just like every other temporary arrangement. The problem WILL resurface, so perhaps facing it in peaceful courage is our best bet.
2) AVOIDANCE EARNS YOU A PEACE BADGE
Sure you want to be the gatekeeper of harmony and pacifism, but lets consider the passive aggressive message that avoidance relates to the outer world. As Brendan Burchard observantly proposes, “Avoidance is the best short-term strategy to escape conflict, and the best long-term strategy to ensure suffering.” This points to the urgent truth that inevitably, at one end of the stick pain and grief will take residence. Whether that’s in the sphere of the person being avoided, or within our internal space, evasion will not generate perpetual peace.
3) CONFRONTING = DRAMA
Piggybacking off point number two spawns the universal truth that trumps this MASSIVE myth. When we think about confronting someone, our minds instantly anticipate friction, offense, anger and aggression. And who wants to have antagonists anyway?? (Or find another reason to be gossiped about.)
Lets think back on a time we’ve approached someone who hurt us in love AND honesty, and simply poured our heart out for the sake of clarity and connectedness. Or perhaps that time, a friend or acquaintance mentioned in a calm and benign tone, how we offended them in hopes that this might not occur again. Perhaps it stung a bit at first, but it didn’t kill us nor linger forever… Unlike the effects of our favorite DODGE ball tournament.
Contrary to popular belief, tackling a problem does not result in the exacerbation of conflict. IT ACTUALLY BRINGS PEACE! Every kind of peace… mental, emotional, physical and interpersonal. ( GIVEN that it happens with the proper intention and delivery.)
4) AVOIDANCE IS INDIFFERENCE IN A WET SUIT.
It fits well, it’s tight enough that I might be disguised. Besides, non once can see anything under the water…
May I suggest that WE STILL KNOW that we’re there, fully aware and fully exposed??
Lets not lie to ourselves and pretend that we don’t care. If you can sincerely recognize that you don’t even think about it, then congratulations… you’re in the clear. BUT, if you’re trying endlessly not to think about it, fighting against the mind vomit that attacks every day, it may be time GET REAL and consider a different outfit.
Simply avoiding a person or issue, does not advertise apathy. Actually dealing with the emotions and processing them thoroughly do we dump and dance.
So, moral of the story is…. BURN THE JUNK BEFOR IT BURNS YOU!!!
“Pain in this life is not avoidable, but the pain we create avoiding pain is avoidable.”