I am a conflict avoider most of the time. I like it when life is easy breezy and we all get along. Even when I don’t love someone’s attitude, Facebook post or whatever I am generally one to only grouse about it privately. They don’t care about my opinion and it’s none of my business anyway.
OK, nice, clean and tidy, right?
Except when you are working collaboratively and then you have to bump up against differing opinions and perspectives. You have to work through it in a way that’s productive. Are you starting to see why I like to work alone?
But the universe knows better and this week it delivered a little gift onto my doorstep with a not-so-subtle note that said, “Deal with this and ignoring it is not an option.”
What’s a conflict avoider to do?
If you’re me, you first rant a little (to someone else, of course). Then you feel bad so you take back everything you just said. Then you run it out.
Literally, run it out. I hit the hill work like I was a boss. (That is only in my mind to be sure)
Then when the nervous energy was out. I sat down and said to myself, you can’t walk away from this. So let’s get clear about what the problem is.
After much hmmphing and sighing and overall pouting I came to the conclusion that I was, merely, having a differing opinion. I didn’t agree with my creative partner. Well big deal. I can find a way to say that without losing my mind or a friend.
It helps when you are painted into a corner to figure out how to be an adult. So I made a list of all the things I wanted to talk about in our next meeting. Then I was reminded that I needed to be open to what the other person had to say to my talking points.
And then I had to remind myself to be open, again. OK and again and again.
And then I started to see where I had not helped this situation. I saw where I had contributed to this relatively silly impasse that was mostly in my own mind.
I showed up to our conversation, I listened, I asked questions, I stayed quiet when I needed to and then… nothing.
I mean nothing in the sense that it all untangled itself. The ship got righted, feelings stayed unharmed and progress continues.
Deep breaths and openness can create the space for soft resolution.
And on the other side I recognize two things. First, I am a sissy of gargantuan proportions. Two, I needed to be pushed in this way so thanks, universe.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G