Again: I’m challenging myself to write a blog post every day this month based on the prompt from WordPress. So I may be veering a bit from my usual subject matter, which is my new life in Panama. I think, my new love of writing is something that I’m embracing now that my life has changed and I get to redefine who I am and what I do with my time . Who knows what I’ll decide to do when i grow up, but right now I will write…
You’re in the middle of a terrible argument, and everyone turns to you to help resolve it. How do you respond? How do you react to conflict?
Wow! This is a hard one for me. In my life I have strived to be a great avoider of conflict! Conflict and me are newly acquainted, we haven’t known one another for long. For most of my life I’ve tried my best to avoid conflict. Have you ever heard of a personality study called, The Enneagram? The Enneagram (pronounced ANY-a-gram) system is represented by a circle containing a nine-pointed starlike shape. Ennea is Greek for the number nine, and gram means “a drawing.” Enneagram means “a drawing with nine points.”
The Enneagram teaches that early in life we learned to feel safe and to cope with our family situations and personal circumstances by developing a strategy based on our natural talents and abilities.( The Nine personalities are
1. the perfectionist 2. the Helper 3. the Achiever 4. the Romantic 5. the Observer 6. the Worrier 7. the Adventurer 8. the Asserter 9. the Peacemaker.)
Well, I am The Peacemaker. Yes, I like nothing more than keeping the Peace! In spite of this fact the universe has been known to send conflict my way and I’ve come to learn that If I face conflict with authenticity and integrity It doesn’t feel so scary. As a matter of fact, I’ve slowly begun to see my relationship with “conflict” at times, as an opportunity to grow and become a better person. But when conflict arrises, my knee-jerk response is just to make peace, at any cost, I’m not proud to admit that I’ve been known to lose myself and simply please the person, or people, who are manifesting the conflict. This ‘knee-jerk’ response is one I somehow naturally learned as a child and although it was a behavior that may have served me well as a child, as an adult I’ve slowly come to learn that being an “Un evolved Peacemaker” has a tendency to create a very “unauthentic” person.
Being a Peacemaker at the cost of my authenticity was a price I began to realize I just wasn’t willing to pay. I needed to learn to be in the same room with “Conflict” and face it with courage and integrity. Thus began my relationship with “conflict”. I’ve come to accept that when I’m In the middle of a conflict and it’s up to me to resolve it, I try hard to practice being okay with the possibility that it may get ugly. I may end up not necessarily being “liked”…..Yikes! Someone may even be mad at me….Gasp! But in the end, I have to live with “me”, with who I am,( As soon as I figured out just “who” I was) . I began to realize that Conflict had been a huge distraction for me. Conflict caused me to avoid facing my authenticity. All to keep the PEACE! Well, I still like to keep the peace, but I now have the presence of mind to realize that it’s not always my job and when I am involved in a conflict, I need not sacrifice my own needs in order to make everything okay . There are times when I disagree or when I’m angry, or when I have to give my title of “Peacemaker” to someone else. While I’ll always feel most comfortable with conflict far away from me, I’ve learned and am ever learning that conflict isn’t necessarily my enemy. Nowadays I’m usually pretty good at finding a peaceful way to deal with conflict and when me or someone in my life has a conflict I’m up to the challenge of facing it, instead of my past reaction of exiting stage right. Mind you, I’m still learning and growing and those tendencies to avoid conflict will likely always be a part of who I am. The Peacemaker in me , although, hopefully becoming more evolved as I grow older, will always be a big part of what makes me who I am. Where would the world be without us Peacemakers after all? The important thing , to me, is to identify and understand, those personality traits that hinder my ability to live my life authentically.