If you’re like most people, you try to avoid conflict. You shouldn’t. Conflict is good for you because it provides the opportunity to tell someone about your
boundary and for that person to make a change. Conflict arises when how someone treats you or speaks to you crosses the boundaries of how you want others to treat you or speak to you. A conflict is simply the discovery and acknowledgement that the way the two of you relate to each other currently is not working.
Boundaries are what protect your love for yourself and make it possible to feel and express love for others. Boundaries are a prerequisite for living.
Every time you confront someone who has said or done something that crosses your boundary, you are standing up for yourself. You are saying, to yourself and to them, “I matter. How you treat me matters.”
You might have told yourself, “I can let this wash over me and let it go. It doesn’t matter.” What you’re really saying to yourself is this: “I’m not important.” What you’re saying to others is this: “It’s okay to speak to me or to act with me this way.”
Conflict is the opportunity to ask for the change you need in how the two of you relate to each other. Conflict is the opportunity to let others know what your boundaries are. It is your opportunity to let others know how they can speak to you or act with you, and how they can’t.
Acknowledge the Conflict
If you tell yourself, “I’ll skip the step of talking about it with her and go straight to forgiving and forgetting,” you are ignoring the conflict. You can’t forgive her for something you haven’t acknowledged has happened.
It makes no difference whether the conflict is big or small, or whether anyone else witnessed it. It doesn’t matter whether the other person, the one who has crossed your boundaries, has bad things going on in her life. Those other things are her excuses.
Speaking up for yourself is the only way that she will know a conflict exists. And when you go beyond saying what you don’t like and include what you want instead, you have communicated clearly.
- “You may not talk to me that way and call me names. Please do not call me stupid anymore.”
- “When you take public credit for my work, I feel mis-used because we both know that I was the one who did the work. In the future, I’d like for you to acknowledge it was my work.”
- “It doesn’t work for me when you shove me against the wall. Do not use force against me.”
Forgiving the Conflict
It is only after the two of you have had a conversation about the situation that you can move on to forgiving the conflict. You can choose to forgive the person even when the resolution isn’t the outcome you had expected. You can forgive when she:
- Denies responsibility for her actions or words.
- Minimizes the significance of her words or actions.
- Refuses to change.
- Fails to apologize.
- Makes a false apology by saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”
“Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else,
but to free YOURSELF from the continuation of pain
and anger. It is a gift to your peace of mind, your self esteem,
your relationships with others, your future.”
~ Kenneth Cloke, Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution
Live Honest, Open and True
When you discover and acknowledge that there is a conflict between how a person relates with you and how you want that person to speak and act with you, you are acting to protect your boundaries. When you avoid conflict, you ignore your own boundaries and allow your own mistreatment to continue.
What are your thoughts on this? Is it better to choose to ‘let it go’ and avoid the risk of confronting someone or is it better to stand up for yourself? Stop by our Life is HOT blog Facebook Group and leave a comment or tweet me @LifeIsHOTBlog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!