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Monday, June 3, 2013

Doormat or Helpmate?

“Do you shoot first and ask questions later?” was how we began this series.  We've been exploring many ways to communicate well in the midst of confrontation.  The inspiration behind this series was this:  I ask you to do something.  You do not do it (for whatever reason, valid or not, it really doesn't matter).   Further discussion has occurred about the lack of action.  Agreement may or may not have been reached.  The lack of action results in a complication.

Do you shoot first?  Do you explode, “Look!  I asked you to do this and NOW look what’s happened?!!”  You can imagine the conversation that ensues.  Is there more to it?  Of course: feelings, interpretations, the way I see it vs. the way you see it.  But, it’s all expository.  The basic message remains: conflict happened.

Do you react or do you respond?  Do not react!  Respond thoughtfully.  Reacting is impulsive.  Take some time and cool off.  Go for a walk.  Leave it overnight.  PressPause.  There are very, very, very few things that must be handled NOW.  In the light of eternity, does this said offense really matter?   

We live in an instant messaging,
instant information, 
instant gratification world –
it’s time we get over ourselves.  

This is where Grace enters in.  Those who've been extended much grace have much grace to extend.  Meaning, those who've screwed up the most give others the most leeway (or they should).  

Are you a doormat by extending Grace?  By not saying why feelings are hurt are you allowing this to happen again?  Only you know the answer to that.  There isn't a logic flow chart for relationships that fits every scenario and mindset.  I would wager if you’re having the same negative experiences over and over again, it’s time to discuss it and make some changes.  Not all changes are fair for each party; and mostly they involve your changing your own behavior - yikes!

Was it a major conflict?  It depends on how it’s handled.  Period.  You could be talking about large sums of money and debt; a child’s safety; or not turning in your homework.  It’s all about how you have the conversation that follows.  Conflict requires “fixing” a problem.  It is possible to fix a problem without getting at the heart of the matter right away.  Let’s get the homework done, turned in, create a system empowering the student toward success.  You can do this without investigating the why behind the action (the heart of the matter).  You can create checks and balances for your child's safety to meet your needs without addressing why you are so concerned.  You can reallocate funds, borrow money, sell assets to build a stronger financial picture without discussion the why behind each answer that lead to the situation.  However ...

Restoring balance is foremost.  Having the emotional conversation behind the situation might best occur once the circumstance is stable.  As you talk, remember the basics of connection and listening.  

Successfully winding up difficult conversations can restore relationships, make them healthier and stronger for the long run.  We’ll talk about assigning blame/fault as we wrap up this series.  

Series Highlights

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