EMAIL #127 - 11TH JULY 2021 - "CONFLICT AVOIDANCE"
I am starting to feel that these Weekly Emails are becoming more and more about my own self-discovery and self-improvement, but I am hoping that my research and subject matter is of interest to the majority of my readers. If not please let me know.
Today’s topic "conflict avoidance" is something I struggle with on a daily basis, and this is an area of self-improvement I know I need to focus on.
"You cannot avoid what you fear because what you fear is inside you." Bryant McGill
I have written previously about "happiness" and what makes us happy: but it appears I have avoided writing about
"what makes us unhappy". For me, most forms of conflict make me unhappy, and I have historically avoided conflict at any cost, often to my own detriment. I find difficult conversations that involve strong differences of opinions and beliefs particularly scary. In fact, the most difficult conversations I have ever had are when I had to dismiss/let go DDB employees over the last 18 months.
So what is it about conflict and uncomfortable conversations that is so scary to me and probably most people?
After reading several blog articles and listening to podcasts on or around this topic, I feel that conflict is scary because it generates a lot of uncomfortable (or downright painful) emotions. For me it makes me feel inadequate, inferior, and worst of all I feel a loss of control. These are some of the emotions that I dislike the most and therefore try to put off or avoid feeling them all together.
"For me a good day is a day without conflict"
The Nigerian/American author Luvvie Ajayi Jones "Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable" and TED talk speaker, eloquently said "avoidance has never been a great tactic in solving problems. For most situations in life, not addressing what's going on only makes matters worse." Throughout my business career avoiding conflict and confrontation has had some negative consequences. I have had 3 serious legal disputes with clients over the last 30 years and I feel that all three could have been avoided if I had of dealt with the conflict head on when they first arose. But as I now know "fear has a very concrete power" and I am hugely fearful of confrontation and conflict.
"Pain in life is not avoidable, but the pain we create avoiding pain is avoidable". R.D. Laing
I also now know that living under the constant stress of a legal battle is my personal "worst nightmare", so reading and writing about conflict avoidance is for me a form of therapy and self-improvement. So, if I haven't lost you yet, I would like to dig a little deeper into this topic next week, by looking at why all of us should have a better understanding of where conflict comes from, the problems it causes and how we can actively embrace it in our lives?
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and step up.