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On Confrontation

On Confrontation March 9, 2015Leave a comment

Words Of Hope Blog-- dedicated to vulnerable writing about my crazy life. Check out my new tab Missed Moments about my experiences on public transportation!

Being confronted terrifies me. Confronting other people terrifies me. Witnessing confrontation terrifies me. The entire idea of confrontation makes me want to curl up in a ball and forget about the world.

Yesterday I made a list of all the things that terrify me: the fear of never getting married, the fear of not living a life of purpose, the fear of not being able to hold true to my convictions, the fear of not being accepted for who I am, the fear of being judged for superficial things….

And most of all: confrontation.

Being confronted terrifies me. Confronting other people terrifies me. Witnessing confrontation terrifies me. The entire idea of confrontation makes me want to curl up in a ball and forget about the world.

It terrifies me because I try so hard, I work so hard, I actively pursue people and activities, and for someone to confront me, I know they are about to say I didn’t do a good job. That I didn’t live up to someone’s expectations. That I wasn’t enough. Or, really, that I failed.

See, in listing off my fears I noticed a common trend: I’m terrified to fail.

Think about it:

Afraid I’ll never get married. Because then I’ve failed to be an appealing person.

Afraid I won’t live a life of purpose. Because then I’ve failed to live up to my expectations.

Afraid I won’t stay true to my convictions. Because then I’ve failed to be confident in myself.

….Etc.

But because we’ve made the “I’m scared to fail” phrase so cliché, we’ve missed the complexity behind saying that.

Being afraid to fail is not just about grades. Or about trying to start a business and it not working out. Or practicing a sport and realizing you’re not good.

No, there are thousands of ways we can fail. We can fail to be a good friend. We can fail to be a good partner. We can fail to take care of ourselves. We can fail to take care of other people. We can fail to resolve an argument, create or mend a relationship. We can fail to be loving and intentional and forgiving. We fail in many ways that aren’t quantifiable, yet are incredibly emotional.

And that’s where the confrontation comes in. When we fail in these more quantifiable ways, like failing to be good at a sport, we can tell we’ve failed. We get concrete evidence that makes this failure a reality. We never get playing time, or teammates don’t pass the ball to you. We get an F in a class or our business closes. But when we fail in these more emotional ways, like failing to be a good friend, we only realize it when someone confronts us.

And when this confrontation happens, it’s not this concrete piece of evidence that we can immediately internalize and deal with however we choose. No, confrontation is messy, intimidating, relational, and many times unexpected.

And that’s why it’s scary.

But I realized that confrontation is the only way towards change.

If I got an F in a class, I would know something needed to change. I would need to change my major, get a tutor, retake the class….

If I never played on a sports team, I would know something needed to change. I would need to practice more, talk to the coach….

So if I’m never confronted about, say, a friendship, I would never know that something needed to change. I would never know if I’m being a bad friend.

Confrontation is many times the only way I’d know that something that I do or say needs to change. And as badly as I want to change the world, I can’t change the world until I change myself.

We can’t be afraid of confrontation because it’s a stepping stone towards change. Yeah, failure is scary. But never being told that we are failing is scarier, because then we stop being able to succeed.

Words Of Hope Blog-- dedicated to vulnerable writing about my crazy life. Check out my new tab Missed Moments about my experiences on public transportation!

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