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I hate conflict. In my ideal world, all conversations are pleasant, everyone is helpful and children don’t need correction.  Sadly, that is a fantasy.  Conflict is a natural, unavoidable part of life.  Human beings don’t always agree.

So, becoming comfortable with conflict is one of the most important skills that you can learn. Now I am not talking about becoming comfortable with creating conflict.  Heavens no!  Don’t become one of those people.  There are enough problem-makers in the world.  I mean that you have to be comfortable with other people not being happy with you.  Otherwise, you will run yourself ragged.

For example, around this time last year, I got a typical winter cold. I should have gotten over it in two days.  I just needed rest.  Instead, I kept my normal schedule, lest anyone be inconvenienced by my cold.  As a result, my two-day cold became a two-week bronchial infection.  And it was all because I didn’t want to have any arguments over what I could and could not do for others.

This year, I am again fighting the two-day cold. However, I’ve smartened up.  I’ve said “no.”  I’ve said “no” to a family luncheon.  I’ve said “no” to running errands.  And I’ve sat in bed, drank tea, read books and rested.  I’ve gotten some pushback, and I’ll admit that has made me uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, it still does bother me when people are disappointed with me.  But I know that becoming comfortable with conflict takes practice.  So, I am practicing!

Being comfortable with conflict takes confidence. You have to be able to say to yourself, “I know that person isn’t happy with me, and that is OK.  I know I am a kind, helpful, and thoughtful person.  Their negative feedback doesn’t change that.”

The problem is that if you are uncomfortable with conflict, less ethical people will sense it. And they will take advantage of it.  If you are uncomfortable with conflict, certain people will kick up a fuss in order to get you to do all kinds of nonsense for them.  They know that you want to avoid conflict at all costs.  So, if you don’t want those folks holding you hostage with every one of their whims, you have to get comfortable with their being unhappy with you.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for being generous with one’s time and one’s resources.  But how and when you do things for others needs to be up to you.  If you do things for others solely to prevent them from having tantrums, then you are the one who is going to end up being unhappy.

As a result, in order to live an authentic life – one that is yours and hasn’t been hijacked by anyone else – you need to get comfortable with saying “no.” And then you need to get comfortable with whatever displeasure may follow.

Remember that God has given us one life. We don’t know how long or short that life will be.  So, every moment is precious.  Don’t let the fear of conflict prevent you from spending you time on this earth as God would have you spend it.  Become comfortable with conflict, and live your own true and authentic life.

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

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