Conflict COWARD

Hi my name is Stacey, and I have a confession to make, I’m a conflict coward. 😊

I have never been good at conflict. I hate having uncomfortable conversations, I hate making other people feel bad, and my body produces a physical response.  Picture this:  armpit sweating, heart racing, shaking, stomach cramps.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been actively trying to get better at this skill. I have gone into my nutrition and fitness group (because we help each other with all things life) and asked for advice – they came up with all kinds of good ideas.  I have also started reading a new book called The Coward’s Guide to Conflict by Tim Ursiny.

It turns out that I’m not alone in this and other people struggle with it as well. Good to know!!!  What I have learned is that conflict is actually a good thing because it can make the relationship better, gives you inner peace, less depression and maintains your self-respect.

The book did an exercise where we had to think back to a time to situations when we did not do our best…. I acknowledged those and now I have to let it go. Because the past cannot be changed. However, I can make different choices in the future.

So we can deal with conflict in one of seven ways:

1. Avoid

2. Give in

3. Passive aggressive

4. Bully

5. Compromise

6. Honor the other person

7. Problem solve together

Which way do you typically choose?  I’m an avoider by default. But over the past two weeks I have been really practicing. I have had 3 situations where I had to deal with conflict head on. I’m treating it like an experiment. Analyzing the situation and how I reacted. And actually I’m happy to report that 2 out of 3 were successful so far. Practice makes better!!!

The thing that you have to think about with conflict (me included) is that holding in your feelings can have a negative impact on you. It can make you sad, depressed, unhappy with the situation and leave unresolved issues on the table. It doesn’t feel good at all!

If you acknowledge there’s something to work on then consciously make an effort to be better then it can work!  But first you have to commit. And explain to yourself WHY so it makes sense to you and then just practice. It doesn’t have to be a screaming match and usually it isn’t. It’s just expressing your thoughts and feelings. No need to feel bad about that. Once you have expressed your thoughts it is up to the other person to own their feelings. You cannot feel responsible for THEIR feelings.  Go into the conversation with the best intentions is what I keep telling myself.

Have any advice for me on how you deal with conflict so I (and others reading) can get better?

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25 Replies to “Conflict COWARD”

  1. I’m not much help. I don’t like conflict either. However, I’d rather just face it so I will speak up even though I can be terribly uncomfortable.

  2. I’m the complete opposite. I will speak up about my feelings and thoughts I a heart beat. I do not expect anyone to accept them, but acknowledgment would be great because I’ll always just do that for the other party.

      1. No, I was never like this. Honestly, I went to therapy and it helped me articulate my thoughts and feelings. Everybody needs a push to start, I supposed! xoxo

  3. It took me a long time to learn to be okay with conflict, not because I hated conflict itself, but because I wasn’t very confident for the longest time and conflict triggered my anxiety in a huge way. I’m much better about it now because I’m more comfortable in my own skin – which translates to being more comfortable expressing myself, my thoughts, my feelings.

  4. It’s not easy to deal with conflict even if you’re more confident than others. I think it’s nice that there’s a book that could help people develop that skill. It’s also like being non-confrontational.

  5. Love this because I’m totally not a conflict person but it’s so true about sometimes talking about those things bothering us to not let it get worse or bottle up

  6. I’m not much a conflict coward. I used to be when I was a teenager until my early 20’s. I hated how I felt when I didn’t speak up. I felt angry and disappointed with myself whenever I did not speak up. However, once I decided to speak up for myself and tell people exactly how I felt it made me feel empowered. The more I did it, the easier it was to speak up.

  7. Yes I can relate with you. I totally try my best to avoid conflicts. Especially if it is between my loved ones. I try to be as neutral as possible. But sometimes I feel guilty of not taking a stand.

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