The Merits of Confrontat​ion

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I am one of those people who constantly uses the word "sorry" in inappropriate situations when I have nothing for which I should accept blame.  And my husband is pushed to the brink of annoyance because, like a parrot, I say "is that okay?" "is that okay?" regarding every decision I make over the weekend.  But I am a grown and educated woman, so why do I do this?  It's simple...I want to avoid conflict at all costs!
But when is the cost too high?  What if I'm actually sacrificing my self-esteem, respect, and even health over fear of a little conflict? 
The article "Overcome Your Fear of Confrontation and Conflict" by  gave me tools to use when confrontation becomes necessary.  She asks "are you guilty of holding mental conflicts and confrontations?"  To that I could easily answer yes.  She goes to say if these imagined confrontations are interfering with your life because you replay them over and over and over, then maybe a little healthy confrontation is necessary.
Well, I'm happy to say that I took a huge step today in overcoming my fear of conflict.  Several situations with a co-worker were affecting both my personal and work-life, so I decided it was time that I confront this person.
First, to get my thoughts in order, I considered what my perspective was on the situation and pin-pointed the true issue at hand.  In this case, like in so many other cases, it boiled down to communication.  As to not be overly confrontational, I asked the person to my office when they had a moment.  I believe this showed more respect than cornering the person and forcing them into a conversation.
Then, per Scharf's advice, I did the following:
  1. Made my initial statement and then stopped talking.
  2. Avoiding arguing and kept to the real issue.
  3. Suggested a resolution that I had considered beforehand.
And the key...whatever the other person may state in their defense, "don't let it distract you from accomplishing the goal of the confrontation."
I should also mention that I took several deep breaths and a moment to pray beforehand.  I asked that my emotions not get the best of me and that my words reach the other person in a positive way.
All in all, I feel great.  I feel like a weight has been lifted and the issue has been resolved.  And the true test....I know it was handled appropriately because I can walk with confidence.  Had I not confronted this person or had I confronted them in a disrespectful way, I would not have the confidence that I have now.
I could have simply dug deeper within myself and let it go, as I have done so many times in the past. But I realize that it's okay to respect your own emotions and seek clarity/reconciliation when possible.  Reserve those hard-won victories over grudges for times when clarity/reconciliation simply is not possible.
Does this mean I will be quick to confront others going forward?  Not necessary.  But I recognize the benefits of healthy confrontation as opposed to steeping in your own mental mess.  Confrontation should not be something to avoid at all costs, but should take it's rightful place as a sometimes necessary action.
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