Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Being at peace with an "issue" is a whole lot easier when those involved are not close to you. I am of course speaking of difficult issues. Issues that could be prevented or resolved with a change in thought.
I come from a long line of "wanna-be" fixers. I want to help "fix things" in other's lives but at times I'm a bit afraid to voice my opinion. Whether I voice my true opinion or not depends on how the person is behaving in that moment. For example, if they come to me complaining about this, that or the other thing, and it's something they can do something about, I first determine their tone. An angry tone is one in which listening skills should be applied first. Also if this person is one who poo poos all of my thoughts, suggestions, ... they are not going to get my true feelings but they will hear what they want to hear. I am in no way shape or form a conflict seeker. That to me would be confrontational.
On the flip side are those who may not even ask for my opinion but I, on the other hand, feel compelled, or comfortable enough with them, to give it. This is especially true if it's something I feel strongly about or if I can see their decision is not within my ideas of what is right and what is wrong. Nevermind that the ideas I have may be different, but no less damaging, than theirs.
This level of comfort is usually only found in the relationship I have with my kids. After all, haven't I earned the right and am I not obligated to let them know when the path they are on is not a good one? Maybe this feeling of having earned the right to lead them is because I gave birth to them, I fed them, bathed them, ... They need direction and more specifically they need to know what should be happening instead of what is happening.
When they stray I let them know they better pick another option because the one they are thinking about choosing or the one they chose isn't the best. I need to work on my delivery though. It's hard to let them make mistake after mistake without getting frustrated enough to use the, "I told you this was going to happen. Why didn't you listen to me? If you had listened to me, and actually did what I said, you could have avoided this whole mess." I'm also trying to get it into my head that I need to settle myself down before embarking on that part of the lesson, realize that I would not want to be spoken to like that and do more listening than talking. The most important clue into this whole puzzle is that what is happening is not a mistake. Whatever the difficult time, there is a lesson in there somewhere for all involved.
It's really hard to watch other family members and friends do the same. I try to put myself in their shoes and respond accordingly. It's difficult though when you miss the mark on understanding or just plain can't figure out why they are doing what they are. I need to work on just asking them why they do what they do but many times the conversation can get defensive and then the confrontation begins. I'm definitely not good at responding to conflict in any shape or form. The moment I can sense that things are headed in that direction I head in the other. I either deflect or run. What do you do?