The Less Painful Option
When I was all set to go and confront the crabby pizza people, Keith says to me,
"You just really love conflict don't you?"
Which made me pause.
I don't love it.
Not even a little bit do I love conflict.
In fact, I was nervous, shaky and uncomfortable on my way to the pizza place. I was anxious and jittery and scared about what would happen.
It is a literal battle of wills and it can be frightening - especially if you're easily intimidated by aggressive actions and energies.Conflict is a clash of energies.
Have you ever been around the "conflict guy" or the "invading lady"? They're both bullies and they're basically trying to manipulate your energy into alignment with their own.
It feels gross, and can be scary.
Sometimes though, fear is the less painful option.
Bullies are threatening
I grew up with an alcoholic bullying father.
He was often cruel and as a child I had zero defences against his twisted truths.
My choice was to retreat and collapse into myself.
Like a tortoise without a shell or a hedgehog without quills, all I could do was roll into a ball and protect the soft spots.
I was not a soft target at school.
I was able to speak out against bullies on the school yard and defend myself from attack from my peers - both physically and energetically.
It always felt better to me to speak out in defense of myself than to retreat - but these were peers and not authorities.
These were not my father.
There is always a reckoning
It wasn't until university that I started feeling confident enough in myself and my truth that I challenged my dad when he moved into bullying mode.
It only took once.
One red-hot conflict of wills where I would not allow myself to collapse or crumple or roll up into a protective ball of tearful flesh.
I stood against the attack and interrogation and spoke my truth, my perspective, my reality.
I literally battled to stand on my own ground and fought for the freedom to express my truth.
The fear of the conflict is nothing in comparison to the life-affirming act of defending your right to be - exactly as you are.It was glorious.
"You cannot silence me. I am unsushable."
"You cannot diminish me. I am a divine creation."
"You cannot treat me so. I will not accept it."
(Which is in fact a holy proclamation of universal being.)
The freedom to speak my truth and express how I expect to be treated was an open door to wholeness.
It doesn't mean that other people will do what I ask - people still have free will and individual truths can run counter to one another, but I fulfill my responsiblities in divine relationship with other human beings by expressing clearly how I will and will not be treated.
So much fear of conflict revolves around fear of not having our needs met.
We fear rocking the boat by expressing our needs or we fear that even expressing those needs will not change the situation and we will have made ourselves vulnerable to rejection and disappointment.
The secret truth is that expressing our needs and speaking our truth in how we expect to be treated will go a long way towards fulfilling our needs in the first place.
It is an act of self-love and self-care.
Not expresssing my truth and how I expect to be treated was more painful than the fear of conflict could ever be.
No. I don't like conflict.
But I will embrace it in the pursuit of truth.