It can be hard to break out of the conflict cycle. You know,
the one in which your “friend” gets offended and suddenly everything triggers
them. It’s like a swirling cesspool of death and destruction. Once your “friend”
gets caught up in the riptide of insecurity it seems all logic and rational
thought goes out the window.
We try to make accommodations and throw the occasional life
preserver but it’s a hard-fought battle. Insecurity doesn’t give up easily and
it’s hard for our “friends” to be open about their shortcomings.
The thing that makes this so incomprehensible is that we all
have these flaws. They manifest differently but if we were honest with ourselves,
we wouldn’t have to hide behind our “friends”. In that honesty we would be willing
to break the cycle.
We would throw up our hands and cry, “Stop the fight!”
It’s not necessary for there to be anymore carnage. We needn’t
argue and bicker. We are all flawed, in a way it’s what makes that mosaic of
humanity so fragile, yet beautiful.
When I am honest, I know that my shortness with others is a
gauge to my own insecurity. I need to be willing to break the cycle and work
The fantastic thing about us as humans is that while we have
a natural tendency, we can rise above. When it comes to conflict, it’s our own
I’d be thrilled to know if you find this post valuable, but
in full disclosure, for me, writing this was my therapy.
This isn’t an authorized list. There hasn’t been any
research backing it up. It’s just a list of things that I’m doing now because
ambiguity is part of life and I have chosen not to be a victim of circumstance.
- Be honest with yourself. You need to
assess the situation. What’s going on? Are things good or bad? How is morale? Is
leaving an option? Why or why not? Should you leave? This line of questions
gets crazy and is very specific to each of us individually. You need to be
honest about how things are really going. It won’t help you, your team, or the
organization to pretend that things aren’t a bit wonky. This doesn’t give you
license to speak negatively or to start being a naysayer. To put it plainly, it’s
the person that knows they are sick that goes to the doctor.
- Reset your expectations. Throughout my
life my expectations have had a major impact on my experiences. If I plan on
having steak for dinner and end up with salad, I’m disappointed. If I go on
vacation to the beach and it rains the whole time, it’s quite likely that vacation
will be ruined. Often, my expectations set me up for failure because I feel like
circumstances should turn out differently. Nothing was promised to me. I
understand that nothing is owed to me but that doesn’t stop me from setting
expectations for how things should be. In times of ambiguity, it’s not uncommon
to look for stability. Looking for stability and even desiring it is not bad,
but don’t start a narrative in your head based on a set of bad expectations.
- Focus on the tasks at hand. It’s quite
likely in your ambiguity that there’s a lot of work to do. Don’t sit around waiting
for someone to tell you what to do. Get to work. I have a list of things that
need to be done, but it’s never the right time because there’s usually
something more pressing. Maybe now is the time to work on some of those tasks.
- Don’t wait for permission look for opportunity.
You don’t need permission to be an encouragement. You don’t need permission to
pick up trash from the floor. You don’t need permission to engage. It takes a
decision on your part to step up. Open your eyes. Look for opportunity and make
- Look to the past. There are peaks and
valleys in life. By looking to the past, you gain perspective. These times of
ambiguity that feel like an eternity don’t last forever. You got through
before, you’ll get through again. If you need help getting that perspective, talk
to a friend or a mentor or a neighbor.