Saturday, October 15, 2016

     


















     If you knew there were no negative consequences, who would you confront? I hate  confrontation. I will do anything to avoid it. Some relish getting in others’ faces. I suppose it comes from how you were raised, your reaction to criticism, how you were “corrected.” If your parents said things like, “Why would you do that?” or “Haven’t I taught you anything?” you might shrink from the feelings you remember—feelings that made you feel stupid or ashamed.There’s a fine line between raw criticism and tactful, sensitive correction. 

     I have a couple of situations in my life right now that can only be resolved by a direct confrontation with the individual. I have avoided “the elephant in the room” with these people for years. Why? Am I afraid they might not like me after I tell them that their behavior is irresponsible and insensitive? Probably, and even in my senior years, I don’t want to accept the fact that I may not be liked by someone. After all, I don’t like everyone, so why should the reverse be true? We don’t connect with everyone on the planet. 

     This begs the question, “If someone’s behavior is irresponsible, why would you choose to spend time with him or her?” Good question.  I hear myself say, “Well, she has a good heart even though she bores me to death.” or “She means well” when she babbles constantly and doesn’t listen. What’s wrong with me that I would hold onto such a relationship? I’ve decided that I’m too damned polite sometimes, and I just need to let go of such people. If they don’t like me, that’s probably good. But how do I tell someone that they have been rude, insensitive or irresponsible? How do I say that in a "nice" way? Two of the words that make my hair stand on end are "don't" and "should." 

     There is a voice in my head that keeps saying, “Have you done enough?” “Have you brought joy to enough people?” “Have you been generous enough? kind enough? thoughtful enough?” “Have you left a positive legacy?” “Have you forgiven?” 

      When it comes down to the bottom line, the only person we really have to confront is the one in the mirror. If that person can take our criticism, then all the questions will be answered. If that person can forgive, then that’s a positive legacy in itself. If that person can weigh the consequences of delicate words and act appropriately, then she is admirable. If that person can be brutally honest and accept consequences of her own words, then she can walk the planet with a clear conscience. I am still a "Work In Progress." How about you?


     How do you feel about confrontation? Where do we learn how to confront? Who should teach us this very important skill?