Confrontation is a loaded word, but confrontation need not be more than a conversation. Maybe a serious conversation or not serious at all, but we shouldn't make it out to be more than it needs to be or more than it really is. Granted, a conversation, where we express our discontent with someone, especially someone close to us, about something they may have said or did that we just didn't like can be very awkward and uncomfortable. But if we truly value the relationship, it's a conversation worth having.
Too often, we don't honestly and truthfully confront issues. Instead, we escape or attack, but neither is healthy. When we escape, it's often because we're afraid, and when we attack, that's often out of fear as well. Because of the risks associated with being honest and truthful about what we think and how we feel, we escape by avoiding, dismissing, or denying that something is just not right because we have no idea how the other person will respond. After all, many relationships suffer and die because someone couldn't handle the truth. Then, by the very same token, we sometimes attack for the very same reason: fear. It's just camouflaged as pride--a pretentious confidence and strength, which is not healthy either, even though we may feel like we have the upper hand. The reality is that we can't control how others respond, but we can control ourselves. So, the question becomes: will we allow our fear of others to dictate whether we’re honest and truthful, or will we exhibit true courage, in spite of those fears, and do what people do when they’re genuine to themselves, to others, and about their relationships, which is exercise honesty and speak truthfully?
Many years ago, I became disappointed with a friend because I felt like she had become silent and absent during some significant milestones in my life, the type that we had traditionally shared. While I knew there had to be a good reason for her to become MIA, I was still very disappointed that she was and had, therefore, not shared in the joys of that phase of my life. Her absence and silence bothered me quite a bit and for quite some time, but I was also bothered because I didn't know why: "Was she upset with me for some reason I had no clue about? Had I done something to offend her and instead of just telling me, she was now using silence as both an escape and an attack? Did she know how disappointed I was as a result of her 'going dark' and not sharing in milestones that were our custom to share?" All these unanswered questions swarmed around in my head and riddled my heart, wreaking havoc on my insides, until one day, it hit me: "Why don't you just tell her? Why not tell her how you feel? Why not just be honest?!?!" It was as though a huge light bulb turned on because I had never, ever thought of that. "Just be honest" kept ringing in my ears, but as much as it rang, something else started ringing, "How will she respond? What will she say? Who are you to question her? What if she cuts you off and ends the relationship?" As these two opposing messages battled within me, I reduced them to this: fear and bondage versus truth and freedom, and the ultimate questions became: "Who/What was in control of who I am? Was fear? Was my friend? Was the relationship? Or was I?" Needless to say, in spite of my fear, the only answer I would allow was that I was in control.
Well, I confronted my friend, made myself vulnerable, and shared my hurt and disappointment. The response, however, was not at all what I had hoped for and left a lot to be desired. But--and this is a huge, "BUT"--I felt absolutely wonderful!!! I felt free; I felt liberated; I felt in control, all because I didn't allow fear to have the final say. Of course, I was not happy with my friend's response, which added to the disappointment I was already feeling, but the bigger issue was about the growth and maturity that I had to experience in order for me to "own myself." The only reason I would not have confronted her was fear, and once I realized that, there was no way I could let fear run the show and rule the day. But, at this point, the even bigger issue is not about me; it's about you. In this moment, It's all about who might fear be keeping you from confronting? Who do you need to be honest with in spite of the risks involved? What truth have you not been speaking because you're afraid? And, ultimately, who is in control of you? Fear? The other person? The relationship? Or you? Even though confrontations may, undoubtedly, be uncomfortable, remember: the truth you speak will set you free!!!
Like you, Katrina loves seeing people in healthy relationships (with themselves and others) that they genuinely enjoy and not just simply tolerate. This blog is dedicated to achieving that vision.