Today’s Word: ‘Confrontation’ as in… no one really likes it, but we all find ourselves in it from time to time. So what’s the best way to move through it?
After noodling on a couple of stories of confrontation, I decided to make a list of helpful things to practice in the midst of all of that. Here we go:
First, practice listening more than speaking. Most of the time, tense moments of confrontation happen when everyone is talking all over each other. Add to that, most of us are formulating our next brilliant statement instead of actually listening to and hearing the person with whom we’re talking. We have one mouth and two ears. It helps to use them in proportion.
Second, breathe deeply and count to 10 before speaking. The universe is a bit better off when we just put some space between our phrases.
Third, create a longer list of questions than personal opinions. The Hebrew method of debate centered around questions. Whenever someone asked Jesus a question (especially if they were trying to trap him) he’d reply by asking a question. When you’re in a tense conversation, ask for clarification. Or just ask the person to repeat what they just said. If nothing else, that buys some time.
Fourth, speak with measured kindness. Just be kind. Be really kind. We’ve got way too much unkindness in the world and we don’t need to add to it by showing our lesser selves.
Fifth, remember that when you’re in a confrontational conversation, the breath you’re breathing is a gift from the One who is giving you that breath right then and there.
You’re not alone. Ever. Ever. Give it a try.