A Simple Way to Overcome Fear of Confrontation
Have you ever hesitated confronting someone? This could be your employer, perhaps a friend, a spouse, or even a client?
Most of us have at some point worried or stayed as far away as possible from confrontation. Unfortunately, if you do whatever you can to avoid confrontation you are essentially holding yourself back from living life fully. This also translates into holding yourself back from growth, a raise, creating a closer more loving relationship, etc. Essentially if you avoid confrontation, it is highly likely that you also are holding yourself back from achieving what you really want.
Ultimately we fear confrontation with little understanding of its true meaning. Therefore, the first step to overcoming confrontation is to explore what confrontation really is.
Confrontation, put simply, is a form of resistance. Disagreement for example, represents differing opinions about a topic that also brings with it anger or frustration from both sides. For example, a war between two countries has some disagreement with anger and/or frustration from both sides. And it should be noted that ultimately, disagreements result in misunderstandings that cause the situation to go from bad to worse.
The question here is how can we overcome our fear of confrontation?
Dale Carnegie summed it up best when he said, “Seek to understand, then to be understood.” What we normally do, is usually seek to be understood first, then, possibly, if we felt heard and understood, become open to hearing the other person’s opinion.
Imagine though two people who are both seeking to be understood first?! That relationship will go nowhere fast!
When we are clear with what we want and seek to understand where another person is coming from and why they may feel the way they do and understand what they may be going through, we typically shift into a place of openness and receptivity rather than resistance and bitterness. We then no longer resist them and instead respect them and their opinion. This doesn’t necessarily mean we agree, rather it is about understanding.
Once this occurs and the other has felt heard, it is not uncommon for the other to open to you and to want to hear your perspective. So it would be even better to say, “Seek to understand then to be understood, and then respect/honour the other person’s opinions.”
Imagine two people who are resisting each other’s opinions. The are simply not open to what the other has to say. Once this occurs, there are five possible outcomes for the two individuals involved in this type of confrontation:
1. Person A shifts his/her viewpoint in light of Person B.
2. Person B shifts his/her viewpoint in light of Person A.
3. Both individuals hold on to their own viewpoints and reach a stalemate resulting in a lose/lose situation with both completely frustrated and as a result neither moving forward.
4. The two leave the relationship to find others who are more in agreement with their own viewpoint.
5. The two both honour each other’s opinions and choices and as a result work together – we call this giving and receiving – In essence: Co-creating.
What if you knew that the person you were to confront looked at life and work as those in category number 5. above… it is likely you would NOT fear confronting him/her knowing that he/she is receptive. This is what you must do. Be receptive first.
The quick and dirty answer of how you overcome your fear of confrontation is to avoid focusing on the fact that there is even a confrontation and instead seek to understand where the other person is coming from. Once he/she has had the opportunity to express his/her viewpoint and you really get where he/she is coming from, then it is time for you to share how you see it and then work together to achieve a unified goal or outcome.
This will take practice to master like everything else. So begin and see what kind of co-creative relationships you can manifest in your life.
I hope this article inspires you to seek to understand, then to be understood, and then to respect and honour other’s opinions. If you do you will experience greater connections and much less resistance than ever before and will then have moved through the fear of confrontation.
If you are going through a challenge that you feel requires a third party then I highly recommend a coach who can arbitrate or mediate. A third party is often very helpful to bring fresh ideas to the table and to help the two confronting parties to begin moving forward together again.
I once worked with couple who were wanting to divorce and had spent over $400,000.00 over 4 years on legal fees. With much less money left and at wit’s end they decided to pursue working with me.
Would you know, within 4 hours we had it all sorted out! If only they had been open to this sooner, they would have saved that enormous amount of time, $400,000.00 and avoided all that stress.
Until next time, may your relationships with others and within your self, be open and inspired!
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© 2006-2015 Joshua Zuchter. All rights reserved.
This was an article written as part of Joshua’s e-newsletter Be-Inspired that is sent out Wednesdays.
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