I hate confrontation. Hate it. Avoid it at all costs. So much so that I cringe at the thought of even having to correct someone’s wrong notion.
Today, I ran from such a situation. It wasn’t a big deal, really. Except that it was, and I sit here holding back tears, because I felt personally attacked (I wasn’t) with no idea how to defend myself (remember, I wasn’t attacked) or my thoughts (which are just as legitimate as the others’ in the conversation) in a rational discussion. It didn’t feel rational. Not to me, because I was emotionally charged by the feeling of attack.
The feeling of ‘fight or flight’–remember that from psychology class? I choose flight, almost every time. Why? I don’t rightly know…I only know that if I don’t fly, if I stay and choose to fight, the fury of having held emotions at bay for so long might overtake me. I might say something I’d regret. I might resort to personal attack (which is never fair in a rational discussion). I might unleash the dragon inside myself. I hold that creature tethered within me with the tightest grip. She should never be let out, or she might destroy and devour everything in her path.
And I believe I’ve come to the true reason I avoid confrontation. Retreat is easier. Kinder, and I live to be kind. Because what does it truly matter if one disagrees with me on the merit–or lack thereof– of one genre of literature? What does it truly matter if we do not see eye to eye on things of such trivial nature? It matters not.
Kindness matters. Building up and supporting one another matters. Unkind words cannot be taken back, nor truly forgotten. We remember hurts, whether we want to or not.
Does this mean I’m a coward? I wonder sometimes. Learning to be more assertive is hard for me, but I am learning. Being assertive doesn’t mean being unkind, it is simply enforcing boundaries, which is never meant to hurt others, but to protect. Protecting myself and others is brave, not cowardly. And learning when to stand and fight, or walk away… I know if it truly matters, I will fight, and woe unto him who awakes the dragon.