I don’t particularly like the word conflict. Well OK, so I love to argue. But I like arguing about social issues and judgment calls, not personal problems. I used to think that I always ran away from conflict. Now I know that I simply hide. I don’t usually avoid situations but I do ignore them. Such as, if someone says something hurtful there is a 1% chance I’ll work up the courage to say something to him or her. Or when I say something hurtful? Apologizing takes an awful amount of courage. I actually remember the first time I apologized to my mom without being prompted. I was probably 13. It took me way, way too long (if you’re wondering… my mom is pretty incredible for putting up with me).
Sometimes my “niceness” is considered a kindness. I don’t rock the boat. But I’m starting to think that I’m just a coward. Ok, I’m definitely a coward. I don’t like it when people stop liking me or when things get rough. I like smiles and happy endings (big fan of epilogues too). I want to skip the sad, messy part of every movie and just watch the happy ending. I tend to treat my life that way and skip over the messy bits. I’d honestly rather jump out of a plane than let someone realize I’m not perfect (I know, it’s a shock). I’ll travel to far, foreign countries. Eat some crazy food. Scale a building. Take a dance class. Maybe even dye my hair green. But being real? That’s my biggest failure.
This doesn’t exactly work out for me. In case you’re thinking of joining my little game of emotional hide and seek allow me to sadly show you the path I’ve found myself on. Hiding from conflict leads to shallow relationships. Hiding means little or no accountability. Hiding means people never truly see you. Hiding means that you may not get hurt overtly but that’s simply because you never gave someone the power to hurt you. Hiding is kind of lonely.
Since my one and only New Year’s Resolution is to be brave, I think the problem here might be a little obvious. If I continue to hide from everything I find scary, life is going to pass me by. I can’t truly love the people around me from behind a shield. I can’t live joyously when I don’t show up.
For all my fellow hiders, I invite you on my wild quest for a braver life. I’m not very good at this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled already. But I’m ready to start anew. And I’m going to do that by simply showing up and letting people see me. The good, bad, and ugly. (And the clichés!) Welcome to the messy, wondrous, beautiful life! May the mess bring glory to God!