Seriously, what is it with confrontation that can be so damned difficult.
You’d think it would be easy to express our needs. After all we’re all reasonable, rational people aren’t we?
But difficult it remains for some of us.
Perhaps it’s because it taps into our deep well of insecurity. Perhaps it’s because many of us never learned how to feel comfortable when challenging someone else’s behavior or opinions. Or we aren’t comfortable being challenged our own selves!
I for one grew up with parents who avoided confrontation like the plague. Small wonder it became a difficult area for me to navigate successfully, if at all.
Just the idea of confrontation would have me break out in a cold sweat.
So my lovelies if you have a fear of confrontation then fear no more, because today we’re going to look that fear right in the eye until it slinks quietly away.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Remember that old saying FEAR stands for false evidence appearing real?
The problem is our self-doubt and uncertainty create a perception about confrontations that isn’t real.
(To discover more on dealing with fear, click here)
1.Stop the hallucinations
We suffer from something that doesn’t exist, other than in our minds. We take little pieces of old ideas about confrontation, add an extra story of suffering to it, and believe that must be our future. And it’s scary. Or it would be if it were real. But it’s not. It’s only a story, based on false evidence. Or at least evidence that’s been tampered with.
This is how we create fear. Be it fear of confrontation or anything else.
If you stopped imagining something that doesn’t yet exist, if you gave up the hallucinations where is the fear? Don’t allow the stories that fear makes up convince you that you’re too scared to speak up for yourself.
2. Conscious response
No one will behave 100% the way you want them to. If you want things at home to be a certain way, you have other people who might see things differently.
But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is we don’t manage ourselves to be 100% the way we want.
You might say, you don’t know my boss, or my family, but whilst they can cause difficulties and unpleasantness around you, none of them can cause difficulties and unpleasantness within you. That’s all your own work.
We’re living unconsciously, as a reaction to everything that’s happening around us and that makes it difficult to see others in a different light.
By seeing someone, not as a rival, or someone you need protection from, but as someone just like you, who simply wants to be happy, you can turn any situation around.
(For more on conscious living, click here)
3. You’re not fighting a battle
Don’t look at confrontations as battles you must win. Every person we meet and interact with wants exactly what we want. They are in pursuit of wellbeing and happiness. And getting there doesn’t have to be ugly.
Whether someone is confronting you or vice versa, it doesn’t have to be about attack or defend.
Start by assuming the other person didn’t mean to offend, hurt, or inconvenience you. And has no clue how you’re feeling.
And you have no idea what’s going on in their mind, so no more attributing emotions or motives to them.
The truth is, we’re pretty awful at mind reading because we can only see everything and everyone in our world through our own filters.
[Tweet “The actual conversation part of confrontation becomes much easier when you adopt the right mindset.”]
4. Stay calm
You don’t need to get upset, raise your voice, or participate in anger.
If it feels as though you’re under attack, attacking back isn’t a helpful strategy. It only escalates and lengthens situations that are better being dealt with calmly and quickly.
Some years ago I found myself being tailed by someone. Every move I made, she followed. Every turn, every light, there she was right up my tail pipe. It felt pretty threatening.
Eventually I pulled into the parking lot where I had a meeting and she pulled in and blocked my car.
Weird. Right? Scary? A bit.
As I started to walk away, she jumped out of her car, screaming at the top of her lungs.
“Hello” I said, “what’s the trouble?” You’ve heard the expression ‘red with rage’ well that was her. “You cut in front of me. And then you cut right in front of someone else.”
I’m probably not the best driver in the world, but nor am I the worst and I never deliberately force my way in front of other cars…I’m never in that much of a hurry…plus road rage!
And though I had no idea what she was talking about or where this terrible incident occurred, nevertheless I said “I’m so sorry. I didn’t intend to cut in front of you and I do apologize.”
It was amazing. She deflated right in front of me like some sad balloon. Before re-inflating her rage and trying again.
“You cut right in front of me and I’m reporting you.”
“Well as I said, I’m truly sorry you’re feeling so upset and that I’m the cause, I didn’t purposely cut in front of you, and it definitely wasn’t my intention to upset you.”
And I walked away.
I have no idea to this day what happened to her after this confrontation. All I know is that she and her car were gone when I returned from my meeting.
And I’d learned a really valuable lesson.
Mostly we often haven’t done something deliberately to offend or upset someone and perhaps some people see offense where there was none.
Instead of getting caught up in someone’s pent up anger, being able to diffuse it with an honest, calm response allows everyone to walk away and keep their sense of peace.
By choosing joy, or happiness, or keeping a sense of wellbeing throughout your day, every day, you keep yourself connected to positive energies that give you positive results, making you better equipped to handle most events that crop up in your day with a little grace. Yes, even confrontations!
Encourage one another.
Hi Elle! Excellent advice with great reminders. My default is to take things too personally…thank goodness I’m getting better but it certainly takes a while. And ultimately, staying calm (and mindful) is ALWAYS important. ~Kathy
Hello Kathy…that’s the hard part isn’t it? It’s so easy to take it personally and feel attacked…that was always my mode too. Yet, as you say staying calm and mindful can make all the difference to the end result. Which ultimately is that we feel happy. 🙂
What a great topic, confrontations definitely make me nervous. I love how you handled the car incident. A simple apology can defuse so much and can be far more effective than continuing the cycle of blame. So inspiring, Elle!
Like you Sandra…I’m still not entirely at ease about confrontations…but practicing being joyful throughout the day seems to give me a strength to stay peaceful should the any confrontations arise. Interestingly they don’t show up as often as they used to, which is a blessing! 🙂
Good tips here, Elle on how to handle confrontation. Confrontations are not always our friend, but you demonstrated a graceful way to handle the car issue which helped the defuse the incident. I feel that remaining calm is the key. Wonderful!
Great advice, Elle. As you say, it is all about learning to respond consciously. To do this we have to teach the fearful brain, the amygdala, not to respond in panic. It can be done over time and with practice.
Hi Elle, Very interesting. Confrontation can happen any time. Patience is the key word. Try to stay calm and i’m sure everything will be alright. Thank for sharing. 🙂 Great tips.
You are not fighting a battle jumped out at me- I can think of times when I think I am fighting a battle 🙂 Yes be conscious in how we be and act xx
Love your advice here Elle! We so need to NOT hallucinate…. 😉