You come home from work, exhausted, just in need of a hot shower and a relaxing evening. But what you see upon opening the door is, the dishes are not washed, the problem with the kitchen sink was not fixed even though he said he would “take care of it”. Dirty laundry is in need of washing, and the list goes on. Nothing is done and you wonder “what is this guy here for again? Am I his maid?” You turn around, facing him on the couch, he looks relaxed, just what you want right now. He’s watching his favourite TV show and does not seem to be bothered at all by the mess around him.
In order not to burst out in shouting, you turn around and stomp into your room. You throw your bag to the floor, undress yourself in seconds and jump into the hot shower. Ah, that’s a relief right there. You try to forget the image in your head but… it doesn’t work. You begin to mumble some complaints and ultimately plan on how to bite his head off once you get out of here.
Now, we can see there clearly is a problem. Most of us are familiar with these, and we would also want to resolve them. But oftentimes, we end up in a conflict. That conflict may last for minutes, hours, even days or longer. Hence, we end up sweeping it under the rug, that’s just the best (err…easiest) way out. Though we know there is something wrong – an elephant is now in the room – most of the time, we choose to ignore or attack it. Yet, both will not bring about a desirable solution in the long run.
This is one example of similar issues and conflicts we encounter on a daily basis. Our natural reaction is either ignore, complain or bottle issues up instead of sitting down with our loved ones, friends, colleagues, house mates, coworkers or whoever it may be and talk about it. Ladies and gentlemen, let us not just sweep these issues under the rug. Let’s not keep silent. Let’s not fear confrontation when due. Let’s also not forget that we have the power to choose how we react. Some will say the other person does not understand anyway. That they have tried several times and things don’t change. That they even have gotten used to it, at the end of the day.
Set goals to resolve your conflicts
The challenge we have is that we do not set goals. In everything we do, we need goals. Why? Because goals help us stay focused on what matters most. What society has told us, on the other hand, is that we should rather not set goals and just “go with the flow” since things do go by plan anyway. Well, going with the flow does not apply to most things in life as it is equivalent to planning to fail. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So why not rather plan to succeed? What we should be flexible with is the way to the goal, but not with the goal itself. When you want to make a cake, you need to know what type of cake. Once you know that, you will know what ingredients to purchase in order to achieve the desired result. Bottom line is, know what you want. If you don’t know what you want (if you don’t have a goal), you will waste not only your time but the time of your counterpart as well. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
How best to confront?
So before you confront the person about the issue at hand, you need to ask yourself: what do you want? Do you want peace? Do you want understanding? Love? Respect? A specific outcome? That is the first step to success, particularly in relationships – knowing what your goal is. Once you have figured that out, sit down to research about the ingredients – the actions, the requirements – needed to achieve that goal. It will help you know what steps to take, what things to say, how to react and how not to.
Talking about the problems we encounter help us to agree, agree to disagree and to move on. Confrontation is a sign that shows you want to resolve something, it is a sign of maturity, a sign of love. And, confrontation is not negative if done wisely. If you want to resolve a conflict, you need to confront – with love, understanding and wisdom. Not with aggression, anger, panic or hysteria. That is when confrontation will carry truth with it.
Keep in mind: You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Therefore, confront what you wish to change – with love.
Love and gratitude,