“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” Thomas Carlyle
At various times we have a conflict with a friend or relative. It is common and is usually the result of either person having a bad day. For a variety of reasons we fail to mend the quarrel. The longer it takes us to amend the clash, the worse things get and the more uncomfortable we feel. What began as a disagreement mushrooms into a battle and then war. Neither party wants to confront the opposing foe.
Both partners have their pride to maintain and or their determination to prove they are right. The ongoing struggle is enhanced because our next step is avoidance. You would think that avoidance would create a period of reflection and a desire to correct the problems we have with a friend or family member. This is usually not the case. If we do any reflection at all and if we become consciously aware of having any guilt in the matter, we will run away from our opposition in order to maintain our conviction of our innocence. Most likely neither side is without blame.Even if there are degrees of blame, we can still agree to disagree and let an issue dissolve. The majority of the time we choose avoidance which only hurts both of us, continues the hostility, and eats away at our conscience. We might be relaying our innocence to others then wonder why we cannot sleep at night. Strangely enough, avoidance will promote alienation. Distance dissolves the love we once had and replaces it with feeling a festering wound. Even if we are beginning to admit to ourselves, our own guilty part to the conflict, we begin to fault the other person for the continuance of the disagreement. We absolve ourselves of all blame.
Time passes and erodes our strong passions. The episode loses its’ glamour and we chide ourselves for having been a party to the problematic situation. We avoid the person because we realize it was a stupid argument and we are uncomfortable to have put ourselves in such a situation. It was blown out of proportion. Apologizing is not a choice because it would be humbling. It would make us appear weak. We are genuinely confused about our desires to fix the problem, without losing face, keeping our pride intact, and gaining back some peace. We are never sure about how it will go if we attempt the first approach. If we get rejected we will feel worse about the whole mess. In the end we back down and miss the opportunity.
By avoiding this person, we don’t have to make any decisions. In avoidance we are decimating a once happy relationship. We are paying a dear price for our pride. We must stop avoiding our opposition. By being thrown together at work or gatherings, we have the chance to manage and work things out. Most of the time both people involved in the disagreement are sorry. It is difficult to figure out how to go about making peace. When people are in close quarters, they tend to have more opportunities to fix a broken relationship. The prospects are better and appear to arise without any help. We discover our foe trying to carry a heavy load. Our offer to help washes away a lot of the mud we both slung. We offer a tool or advice to our angry friend. We both laugh at a joke and find ourselves agreeing with each other. It is easy to repair differences when we are in close proximity of the other person. The closer we get to human contact, the easier it gets to resolve the disputes. Suddenly we see our friend or sibling as a person we care about instead of as a stranger. We even wonder how and why the quarrel happened in the first place. We are glad it is finished and we are watchful it doesn’t happen again. We go home, feel good and sleep soundly.
“He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today.” Edward Tryon
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Herbert V. Prochnow
Author’s website: www.pamreynolds.me