The Gloves are Off

Conflict is something I prefer to not deal with. I have been known to avoid conflict in many situations, I would either submit and be overpowered by the other person or I would choose to be the better person and forgive if I was wronged. In more recent times I have learnt to deal with conflict more head on and face the music as they say. Recently, I have been seen more as the perpetrator than the victim. As in I am the one that the other person feels wronged by. This is unchartered territory for me. I have always liked the passion and fierceness of an argument, the thrill of the debate or being the devil’s advocate. I have a high tolerance for standing my ground on a point by analysing something from all angles and mixed with the passion I have for most subjects it may come across quite strongly. To the point where I have been accused of fighting with people.

So the story goes like this, in recent times I have a had a few altercations with a number of people ranging from the little people who are my children to the big people from all aspects of my life. So I have had an argument or two with a few someones. To me most of these were not anything serious and maybe a disagreement or maybe I saw it as me just expressing myself. Perhaps because there was heightened emotions involved means that my demeanor and expressions were also heightened, meaning that the person interpreted it as me fighting. The only time I am actually in fight mode is my weekly boxing sessions. My trainer is a beast and he makes me work for it. Side note – boxing, I have found, is the most effective way of releasing frustrations and as such has been the one thing that I really look forward to weekly that is just for me!

I don’t see myself as the fighting type but maybe with having to be an adult now and the fiery way I express things, it comes across this way? Also, maybe it’s just that I am not the agreeable-people-pleaser-type-girl as much as I used to be, and I just have some standards, beliefs, morals, faith and preconditions in order to be engaged by me. This might across as harsh but it’s actually a way of ensuring I have meaning and quality in my relationships. We are not meant to be a place filler for people when they are bored or it’s convenient for them to spend time with us. We also not meant to be agreeable all the time and we are entitled to different opinions. We are also entitled to feel wronged when we “fight” because no one fights for no reason, they fight because they feel strongly about something and it’s worth fighting for, right?

Eventually, after some heated conversations, some compromise and some form of resolution, with the various people I have had conflict with, I am always so thrilled by the weight lifted off of everyone involved. Once you have worked through a conflict its the most liberating feeling, it’s almost as if your relationship has reached new levels. Alternatively, when you refuse to deal with issues you never allow your relationships to get there?

A previous manager once told me I have a high EQ (emotional quotient or emotional intelligence). At the time I assumed it was a means for him to tell me something nice so as to soften the blow of saying the economy is bad so I will not be getting any increases :/. Later in life, when other people commented on this quality, I realised that this is something I took for granted, and it is surprisingly a rare skill, it’s something that I think I treasure now. It has also become a clear differentiator in leadership today. Having emotional intelligence is actually more important in the workplace and a key skill to able to cope with the modern complex demographics that we are faced with. What we don’t realise as well is often the social skills in our children are vastly affected by the lifestyle we lead. We are constantly using the convenience of the iPad, PC, TV, cellphone as babysitters, that we have no comprehension of how much further it reduces their social interaction capabilities.

I was in attendance at school meeting where a speaker was very profound in pointing out that today we are all to some extent helicopter-moms and guilty of being overprotective. We want to shield our children from every harm an as such we don’t allow them to solve problems themselves. Dealing with conflict is something that they have to be encouraged to explore and with the right levels of introspection we will be able to see what bad habits our children learn from us. Maybe it’s impulsiveness, maybe its being too passive and a push over, maybe it’s selfishness.

We as human beings are flawed. It’s time we embrace this and instead of trying to be perfect and have perfect relationships we need to equip ourselves, more importantly, our children, to deal with these difficult situations. We need to learn skills to either be firm in our belief or comprise in our behaviours to be able to deal with loss or hurt or anger as opposed to being taught to always suppress it. Our negative emotions are just as normal as our positive ones.

Taking the gloves off and dealing with them is the where the beauty lies. The most emotionally freeing moments are riddled with negative emotions, where the loss of a loved one or disappointment in not passing an exam or getting a job or being disheartened by someone you trusted, these moments of forgiveness or acceptance, picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off. These moments allow us to find our real strength and capacity for love. These opportunities for introspection are the exact points in time that help us to grow and develop and evolve into better versions of ourselves.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.

I will meet you there.                                                                – Rumi

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