Avoidance helps us to escape discomfort or whatever negative emotion we don't want to experience. I get it. Well, kind of. I would get it completely if it didn't make things worse.
Because, in an effort to temporarily alleviate discomfort, we end up creating more long term problems.
In my work, I have observed a very familiar and frequent pattern: a challenge arises; there is discomfort in addressing it; said challenge is put off, you know avoidance; more challenges and problems build up as a result.
Things gets worse:
Ruptures grow bigger.
Negative emotions become more intense.
Additional violations occur because, silence is acceptance.
And ultimately, you end up with more to deal with with even less skills and support.
So it leads me to ask, why? Why avoid the inevitable, AND create more stress?
It doesn't help you in the long run.
Avoidance is a short term solution that creates long term problems.
Every fourth Friday of the month, I along with my co-facilitator Danielle Gautt, Licensed Clinical Social Worker host an Executive Leadership Developmrnt Workshop for Black women leaders.
One of the sessions we cover in this workshop is Broaching Critical Conversations, which is all about facing conflict. When I ask Black women leaders why they avoid facing conflict, it always comes down to how they perceive conflict and what they think will come of it. Common erroneous beliefs are:
conflict means we are doing something wrong
facing conflict means there will be an intense argument
if I address the conflict, the worse will happen. BTW, this is called catastrophing
Here's the thing, we are already in conflict whether we choose to address it or not. The conflict is just happening within us instead of between us and the person we are in conflict with. Facing that conflict instead of avoiding it can lead to a resolution.
I want to offer some reframes about what conflict REALLY is:
an opportunity to address what's wrong to make it right
can give you insight into how you proceed so as to AVOID a big blow up
can bring greater understanding, closeness, and /or intimacy with the person you in conflict with if the both of you have the emotional intelligence and tools to navigate it
can help you be better known better, and express your needs
So, I want to challenge you. Whatever conflict you are avoiding, today is the day to face it. Instead of thinking the worse, imagine the best outcome.
It's time to stop avoiding, sis!
And If you need more tips, tools, and insights, connect with us at www.drlawandahill.com. We are here to be the bridge the pathway from surviving to thriving!