People share their problems easily. They voice what bothers them, when they feel they have been slighted, treated unfairly.
They give energy to the problem.
But when they receive the suggestion to take their concern to the person or institution involved, more often than not, the reply is, “I can’t do that, I don’t like confrontation.”
They choose to keep the problem and continue to share it with another. Over and over again sharing, fuelling the problem, not daring to undertake any kind of resolve.
When I hear this, “I cant do that, I don’t like confrontation,” I ask,”Have you ever entertained shifting it from confrontation to simply initiating a conversation?”
Confrontation has taken on the meaning that it is about a dispute between two people.
One person goes to another with an issue and it is invariably presumed that the other must defend.
Or the person who goes in deciding they have the upper hand and they are entitled to take someone to task.
It’s not about listening, engaging in a dialogue where both parties hear the other out with the intention of coming to a mutual understanding, finding a middle ground, deciding on a solution that benefits both parties.
Yet the origin of the word ‘confrontation’ comes from Medieval Latin, ‘confrontare’ to come together, to face one another. Nothing about a dispute – simply coming face to face with another.
Conversation, is a talk, an engaging of information, ideas.
It is unfortunate that we have lost the ability to confront another (come face to face) in order to engage in a conversation (the sharing of information, ideas).
When we don’t and we stifle what needs to be said, eventually it explodes and then an issue that had the potential to be dealt with peacefully and respectfully blows up into what we now call a confrontation.
We have come to lack the courage to converse, to handle an issue, a concern before it becomes twisted into a dispute, a battle of egos and wills, where people get hurt adding another layer to the problem, moving further away from any kind of solution.
We need to start talking again.
Hiding, avoiding, pushing issues aside, stuffing them down – we eventually erupt, spewing and spilling all kinds of nasty, hurting, wounding, scarring.
The skirting around, running from addressing a situation in effect says you are in agreement, that you support the very thing that in truth you are not in favour of.
Mixed messages, confusion.
All because we feel that if we venture into the confronting of another to converse it will not go well. The other party may not agree with us, they may not like what they hear, they may be angry, they may attack.
This fear of coming face to face keeps us in check. It attracts more situations that frighten us from conversing to push us into the courage to have a dialogue and trust that it does not have to evolve into a dispute.
May we find our courage. May we choose to create a new reality where we sit down face to face, to talk, hear and listen to each other.
Ask yourself what you are not dealing with.
Take a deep breath and invite another to a confrontation through conversation.
Begin and be part of the shift to where we once again can come face to face with another and achieve an outcome that is good for each other.
In Zimbabwe, women rangers who have come from abusive backgrounds, protect the wildlife from poachers. In an article written about them in September 2018 addressed that since October of 2017 “have made or contributed to 72 arrests without firing a single shot.”
It is felt that where “men come in with guns a blazing, women have empathy,” they engage in conversation.
These women have been hurt, but they remain to know that confrontation through conversation – the courage to face one another contributes to lasting change. Animals live and families thrive.
It is what is best for everyone.
Photos by; Unsplash, 2 People Sitting by, Korney Violin,
2 People standing opposite by, Aleksandra Mazur
Source; Meet the ‘Brave Ones’: The women saving Africa’s wildlife
National Geographic Documentary, “The Brave Ones”