Updated: Feb 22, 2018
How often do you try to avoid uncomfortable situations and seek peace? Very few of us actually like conflict, but many of us would rather have a root canal than deal with uncomfortable situations. We might physically avoid the person or situation, deny the problem really exists, or find creative ways to detach emotionally. For some busyness becomes a worthy excuse for avoiding conflict. At times we may even revert to unhealthy mechanisms like alcohol or spending money to distract and block out emotional pain. The problem is that the pain doesn't just go away over time, and the belief that time heals all wounds is just plain wrong. Time may help, but confronting the conflict often is necessary for closure. Life is filled with uncomfortable situations, people, and experiences, and no matter how hard we try to avoid them, they eventually catch us, sometimes by surprise. My suggestion is to stop running and start facing the issues head on since conflict that remains in your head will never be resolved. We have to go through it to get through it. So you might say, what are my options?
Depending on the circumstance, talking about the problem directly to the offending person is an option, although sometimes this is not the best first choice. Another option is to write about the issue whether you send it to the person involved or not. We might decide to give it to God through prayer and stop trying to fix it ourselves. Maybe forgiveness is necessary to let it go. Or maybe we are supposed to sit in the emotional pain for a while and process our feelings before we seek resolution. Sometimes it helps to lean on a trusted friend or family member to receive guidance and support. Ironically, simply identifying our conflict and pain can be beneficial even if there are limited solutions. In fact, people often report that using others as a sounding board is often more valuable than coming up with solutions. However, developing an action plan with or without others' input can be very empowering.
Life can be stressful and people can be difficult, but ultimately we have control over how we choose to cope with conflict. Often we either run towards conflict or run away from it, but consider being still and sitting with it before responding. This may require some breathing, mindfulness, meditation, and self-talk, but it may also lead to wisdom and peace. Sometimes choosing to accept a situation or person and recognizing your limits of control can provide some relief. When we experience uncomfortableness we should ask ourselves if we have felt this before because the experience could be one that triggers residual emotion that is left over from years ago. Lastly, instead of responding to the situation in the same way you've always done in the past, consider an alternative response. And remember to think before you speak and act because it will save you much aggravation and turmoil.