I made a huge “mistake” this morning. Instead of my usual routine of making coffee and reading something inspiring or funny, I went straight for my phone. I had 3 non-work notifications that required my response, one of them written at 5:30am! As an aside, do people who wake up so early and text others think being productive supersedes being annoying? But I digress…The ironic part is that these communications were from groups I had voluntarily agreed to join.

Why would I do such a thing? Some time ago I decided I wanted to change some areas of my life. One of them was being proactive and take charge of events, as opposed to being reactive and hoping nothing bad happens. In practicality, this means being involved in social or community groups and help to make decisions. However, this also means making decisions when things don’t go according to plan. Which is often! 

I recently joined my Homeowners Association (HOA), a men’s social group, and a few of my running group’s WhatsApp chat groups. Why did I join them? Well, I’m usually the type of person who is game for anything that is fun, be a trip to Orlando, a happy hour, etc. That is all needed to live a happy life, of course, but I also want to be part of the serious activities that occupy my days. I want to be more well-rounded because I feel that part is missing. Who knows, maybe I’m finally growing up? Hehe

My way of thinking for a long time was to have a simple life and avoid problems. This is very true in the case of toxic situations or relationships. I have had to severe ties with people who would bring out my darkest sides. But avoiding trouble at all costs could be harmful because the best way to do that is to become a hermit, check out from life, or become detached from others. This, however, means checking out from the joy and growth that is also part of life.

My usual way of dealing with harsh situations was to postpone dealing with them in the hopes they would take care of themselves, or someone else would answer (in the case of several people being involved). I know, that’s not a mature way of behaving. See my earlier comment about growing up. Another way of dealing with obstacles was to ask more questions, or basically making the issue more complex and maybe the other person would give up. I have noticed that I am not the only one who uses this method. I am thinking of “contact us” sites where I am forced to go in circles until I quit trying.

When I asked myself why I dealt with uncomfortable situations in this manner, I realized that it boiled down to my issues with communication. Perhaps I don’t want to confront people because I see it as a negative situation. I never liked arguing or even debating. You live your life and I live mine kind of thing. But how about reframing that? If I can communicate my thoughts in a rational and truthful manner, nobody needs to be hurt and there won’t be a negative reception. We can then have a constructive exchange of ideas and come up with a resolution.

I can then take immediate action and start responding to people with necessary questions (not delaying ones) and move the conversation along to a satisfactory path. We don’t have to resolve everything immediately but at least have action plans in a reasonable time frame. However, there should be a result. We cannot leave issues pending indefinitely. It’s like having multiple applications open just in case. Just on case of what? It’s like living in perpetual flight or fight mode!

The apprehension I had about having difficult conversations was because I was unsure how to tackle them. But in the end, I was unsure of myself. The more that I have started to face these situations, the more used to them I am and the less intimidating they appear. Problems that once seemed like mountains now appear as hills. Regarding this morning’s “emergencies”, I dealt with them one at a time, in a manner that did not overwhelm me, but that moved the situation along. I replied to all of them quickly, and two of them were resolved within a couple of hours. The last one is pending but is moving forward.

As tempting as it feels, I will not be avoiding or delaying uncomfortable situations from now on. I cannot have a life free of “pending” situations, just as I cannot have a 0-mail inbox. Life does not work that way. But in cleaning up my life of issues, the benefit is that I become better at dealing with what happens. By the way, nothing happens “to me”. It just happens. This reframing has given me clarity and peace, as I face these opportunities and allow myself to growth.

Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

1 thought on “Discomfort”

  1. Great reminder of how important honest communication is in relationships. I can relate to not wanting to confront people and sometimes avoiding or postponing difficult conversations until I’m ready to do it in a calm manner. So true about clearing up issues that give me the freedom to ‘not have things pending’ and enjoy my time in more productive and self-fulfilling ways. Keep writing about such real situations and how to deal with them.


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