Day 8 of 31: SOLSC
How often have people advised you to avoid confrontation with this or that person. They will advise you in no uncertain terms that you should not go head to head with _____________ (that kid, that teacher, that guy, that boss, etc.) They go on to to tell you that you’ll never win.
Recently I found myself advising adults in a certain child’s life to not go head to head with this child because it just doesn’t work. I attributed my building of rapport and improved relationship to not going head to head. Perhaps that helped, but what really changed is I showed the student I cared about him, his struggles, and his success. Essentially, I listened and empathized.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the people I have gone head to head with on a regular basis over the past few years:
- certain friends
- authority figures (yes, the boss)
- certain students
- my own children
Now I realize that over the years I’ve been “that” person, the one they say not to go head to head with.
I can imagine what was said, “Don’t go head to head with her. She’s stubborn. She’s defiant. She’s opinionated and bullheaded. She’s self-righteous.”
The mere act of going head to head results in the power tipping one way or the other or in stalemate with two people walking away frustrated, mad, and misunderstood. In essence, neither way leads to understanding. Perhaps a kinder, gentler, more empathic me will emerge if I try to keep this in mind. Who wants to come out swinging? I, for one, do not.
Yes, I have noticed that when I change, the people around me change, too. It’s a beautiful thing, actually.
As I watch the presidential debates, I see personal attacks and mudslinging. I see individuals playing dirty as they go head to head.
Perhaps the answer isn’t fighting for my beliefs. Perhaps the answer isn’t about making sure you understand where I’m coming from. Perhaps as I continue to seek to grow and change my nature, I will find myself able to listen on a different level. Perhaps then, I’ll truly embrace the answer, an answer of cultivating peace and understanding.
Perhaps then, someone will speak of me in this way:
Don’t go head to head with her. She won’t take your bait. She will rise above that, listen, and meet you where you are in a non-confrontational way. She will cultivate peace and understanding.
That’s the person I’d like to be, so please don’t go head to head with me. This isn’t backing down. This isn’t a loss. This definitely isn’t weakness. This is truly victory on a higher level.
Let me end with powerful peace cultivating words, The St. Francis Prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.