What is the one thing in your life that you literally run from? That one "thing" that you will do just about anything to avoid?
Mine is conflict. Ugh even the word makes me cringe. It's a complicated explanation, but here it goes...
I like to think that I deal well with conflict, but truth is...I just do whatever it takes to keep it from happening. Most of the time my basic and essential needs are put aside as I do this. Not good. Ever. I have spent my life going second so that conflict is almost never part of my day. (Yes, I realized how unrealistic this is...) The sneaky thing is that I really like to put others first. I enjoy helping others feel special. Giving, being easy going...and all that jazz, but there are supposed to be boundaries. Right?? Yes. I am just now, at 30 years old, coming around to realizing that I have a major problem of using kindness to fuel my avoidance of conflict. It's like an addiction. Can you relate? I will tell you this...coming to terms with this has been a long process and one that I am not sure will ever be complete. I stay torn between being a YES girl and wanting to live in peace and tranquility. The struggle is real and I am constantly jumping on and off the struggle bus.
To be completely honest though, as much as I avoid it, conflict is really all I've ever known. Chaos if you will. Pain. As a child it was out of my control, but as an adult I am finding that when I feel peace, immediately I will seek out conflict. Peace feels wrong...different...way to easy. Not for me. Chaos and conflict give me a space where I can accomplish and solve. In conflict, I get results but the funny thing is...life doesn't have to be that way. To some this may simple, but the "pain" of life was the most comfortable place for me to exist. Survive.
My husband is a great source of peace in my life and truly one of the only human beings I allow into my head. I let pretty much everyone into my heart, but until this very post...you've never been in my head. My mind...where a lot of scary things happen...and to be fair (finally in my 30s) there is more bright than scary. But for most of my life seeking out conflict has exhausted me and left me empty. See why I said it's an addiction?? It's taken so many years to see that the cost of my actions is two high a price. From the outside I appear to be such a wonderfully helpful and kind person...and I am...however, the turmoil I put myself through to see others NOT have to have conflict or pain, is out of control. I learned this skill from my Dad. I watched him countless times. Create a mess only to then try to clean it up (sort of). We created these habits...wait for it...so we didn't have to deal with our own feels. Address our own problems. Our own deeply rooted pain. I personally have opted for less of pointing my finger at someone else as a distraction, and more of gathering the hurt and trying not to let it spread. It seems noble but I would like for you to know (right here, right now) the real sadness it causes me. My Dad suffered so very much during his years on this earth. Creating and solving conflict was his coping mechanism. As a child I watched, trying to help as much as I could, but it was just to big to carry. So, I developed a habit of feeling like I had to solve every problem within 100 miles of me. I had failed him (so I thought) and I am still on that mission to never let it happen again. He had a great big heart (no matter the shitty choices he made at times) and in the end he is remembered for the way he made others feel special. How he created spaces for others to exist in peace (even if he himself was always suffering) I try to do that too. But not at the same cost. Not spinning my wheels and never feeling peace. I know if he were here...that's what he would tell me now. He'd say, "BoHogs, don't do it like me...do it like YOU, because you are meant to change the world in a BIG way baby".
Real talk. The thing about becoming aware of your behavior, means you are obligated to evaluate and change it (if needed). Well, that's what happened to me anyway. You know...the old saying..."when you know better, you do better." To me that's always seemed a little unfair (mostly because I don't like the pain associated with dealing with my own feels) but it's completely true. So, how does one who despises conflict, seem to be surrounded by it all the time??? Good question. One that I am still working to answer myself. The thing is I really don't like conflict, but it had become a coping mechanism for me over the years. When I need to "feel better about me" I help a friend (or 10) with their conflicts...or I look for ways I can "help out" anyone, anywhere. For a long time I never really saw the danger in this...until I did. One day I looked up from being the "helpy helper" I am and I was exhausted. Defeated. 45 pounds overweight. Sad. Lonely. Lost. I was no where near where I wanted to be in my life. Where I thought I was supposed to be, but how was I going to make a change? Where would I start? I had to start dealing with those feels and when I opened Pandora's box...the first thing I had to address was this...
Why am I allowing conflict to consume my life? Letting this create unhappiness and pain? Where do I really want to be?? This lead to me having to review my "blueprint" for life and this changed everything...the next chapter starts with me thanking God for unanswered prayers.