"You know there's a saying, on the other side of conflict is intimacy." I can't remember if I laughed or cried when my counselor told me this. Maybe both. There are few things in life I dread more than conflict. (A root canal might be a close second. Really close.)
But just as strong as my dread, there is a desire for something else. Pulling gently but firmly in the opposite direction. A desire for deep connection to the people I care about. For intimacy. But now you're telling me I have to go through the thing I hate... to get to the thing I want most? Isn't there like, a shortcut? I'd even settle for a longer detour. Just as long as it takes me around the sinkhole of conflict.
The detour I seem to drift towards most often looks like this: "I'll just become the perfect friend/employee/human! Then ALL the people will be happy, and NO ONE will ever be upset with me and POOF! No conflict!" This path is full of explosives like burnout, self-loathing, and resentment. And when I get to the end of the road, I discover the biggest problem. My detour didn't actually get me where I wanted to go. It was just a temporary distraction, not a path to my desired destination.
The road that takes me where I want to go? It feels scary sometimes. Like the narrow, curvy roads that hug the side of a mountain. But could it be that there's something about the effort it takes to navigate terrain like this? Maybe it makes the reward of reaching the summit that much richer?
I'll be the first to admit it's much easier to write metaphors about all this than to actually do it. We had a much longer conversation on the Drive Home this week about conflict, including some practical things that have helped us navigate it in a healthy way. We'd love for you to join the conversation! What has helped you navigate conflict in your own life?
Some days on the Drive Home we have deep conversations. Other days, we talk about strange food. (Or delicious food... if you're asking Ansen.)
On that note, we hope you have a great weekend! (Whether it involves pickles or not.)