I do not like conflict. I thought this was a great personality trait. Isn’t conflict bad?
Fast forward 40 years.
When someone avoids conflict and tries keeping people happy their whole life do you know what happens? They become angry and resentful. Why? Because they haven’t allowed themselves to say what they want to say in order to keep peace. That built-up anger and resentment, for an Avoider, turns into passive aggressiveness.
I have become passive aggressive.
(Is this why as some people age they get more cynical and care less who they offend when speaking their mind?)
What is passive aggressive? It’s when someone (me) becomes angry and resentful but, because I choose not to share my true feelings, act in a way that is sarcastic or mildly hurtful hoping my target audience figures out on their own (so as to avoid conflict) that I am upset.
Does this work? No.
So I have resolved to speak my mind. As unnatural as it feels to speak up when my usual MO is not to, I sometimes feel I have to say something… for my own mental health!
You know what? Speaking up is quite liberating! I feel so much better! There’s only one problem. I am offending people.
Do I need to apologize to the people who were on the receiving end of my words? Or is this need to apologize just my need for no conflict? Maybe there is no real conflict. And do I really need to apologize for just sharing my thoughts? There is no malicious intent.
“What would Jesus do?” He would let a lot of things go that I don’t, I know that! He would also speak with loving patience and kindness.
So I am going to answer my own questions. Use a filter before speaking especially if there are strong feelings. Consider others’ feelings; how would you feel if you were on the receiving end of what you are about to say? And remember, it’s ok NOT to say something!
Whether or not conflict occurred when you spoke up is irrelevant. The fact that you feel the need to set things right means for you there was conflict. You would think, Michelle, that your sensitivity to conflict would make you more sensitive to your word choice and delivery but apparently not. (Yes, I’m talking to myself!)
So if you readers can take something away from this self-therapy session be my guest. If you have advice for me, please leave it. If I need to just keep my mouth shut I think I can do that, maybe. I’ll just have to ask Jesus what He would do before I do or say anything. (Heck, that may be advice we all should heed!) Wish me luck!