One naturally reacts to negative events with a fight or flight variation. Fighting alternatives include verbal and physical, overt and passively aggressive. Flight can be physically retreating, mentally escaping, or a combination. In a fight, one defends, in the other, every alternative includes a version of retreat. There is another choice. One can stand tall, with the courage to neither fight or fly, facing the other with the willingness to hear, consider, and respond.
As I reflect on an important relationship, I see myself responding in a variety of ways. As I consider the space where I find myself, I realize my decision making often skips the important question of why. Do I understand my reason for the choice I make?
Lesson observations include the following.
Fighting and all its variations may feel as if it is the right thing to do, however it rarely is the best choice in hindsight. Life finds a way to remind me of a key, “outcome”. If the outcome I would like is a positive resolution, the path which begins with a fight door will be long and difficult.
Retreating and other variations of flight is a twisted variation of going into battle. While I avoid the potential negative outcomes, there is nothing on which I can build. The absence of conflict does not take me towards a positive outcome and harmony.
The option I finally mustered the courage and energy to embrace is standing tall, accepting what unfolding with my eyes fixed on harmony. In being willing to hear and understand, I found myself seeing the future with fresh eyes. The greater story, or at least potential of one, emerged. In reaching for this, new paths revealed themselves. Those involved stepped through a doorway into something new.
This last choice is the most difficult initially and yet the path to harmony is the shortest. The advice James left us rings true. “So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work, so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1.4)