I get so frustrated when I avoid conflict. That may sound strange. Shouldn’t we try to not engage in conflict. We don’t want to be pot-stirrers, right?
But we can’t prevent the conflict by avoiding it. By definition, the conflict has already occurred. By avoiding it you are not making it go away. As I have experienced, and seen in others, when we avoid conflict we are adding a new conflict.
We are adding an internal conflict.
Our mind and heart are warring with each other.
We want to avoid getting into an argument, being insulted, getting our feelings hurt or just being more aggravated. But, be honest, even if you avoid the conversation with the other person, you are having multiple conversations in your head. As you run through each scenario that could occur, you are experiencing all of the emotions that you were trying to avoid by not addressing the situation.
And if you are like me, your mind has the ability to make it far worse than the actual scenario may be. If you are already uncomfortable discussing the situation with the other person, then you have to justify in your mind that avoidance is a wise decision. Thus, the exaggeration begins.
We make it way worse and this fuels our point of view.
Now, not only were you upset because of a certain situation or disagreement with someone, you are twice as out of sorts because you are stuffing it. Negativity, bitterness and frustration are being stuffed and stuffed until you feel sick inside.
This is dangerous for many reasons:
- Your emotions are fully felt, regardless.
- It probably effects your relationship with the other person even more. Now there is a wall.
- As you ruminate on the situation in your mind, your emotions are heightened.
- It begins to affect your mood and your trust of others in similar situations.
- Eventually when too much is stuffed…it all comes pouring out. Usually in a poorly timed, unplanned outburst.
- Now you are in a situation of two wrongs don’t make a right. What you have done is just as bad as what you feel they did to begin with.
Now can you see the conflict in conflict avoidance?
The best course of action when a conflict occurs is to deal with it as close to the time of the situation as possible. You may want to sort out your thoughts first through journaling, discussing with a trusted confidante, or praying. Your approach should always be to focus on the situation, not the person. This is always an opportunity to treat others as you would want to be treated. Which means to be direct, however, diplomatic, calm, and with good intentions to a positive outcome.
This is highly recommended over stuffing it! What goes in must come out –– make sure you are handling the delivery in the best way possible.