Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perspective


Warning: This post is not funny. Okay, maybe it's a little funny but I'm actually trying to be serious for a change. Nothing to worry about. I'm sure I'll be back to my regularly scheduled shenanigans in no time.


Today I'm talking about keeping things in perspective in regards to conflict. Everyone argues. It's a fact. People are different and will clash. It's something we have to deal with every day, and frankly, life would be pretty uninteresting if everyone agreed with each other all the time. Everyone would be smiling and happy... practically skipping and hugging with the joy of their conflict-free lives and I'm pretty sure I'd have to be punching them in their stupid faces on a regular basis.

Life is conflict. The key to harmony is keeping those conflicts in perspective. I've seen so people fight with their friends and loved ones over little things and turn those little things into something all consuming. They turn the disagreement into something much bigger than it needs to be: a huge, ugly, angry monster that seethes and grows until it consumes the people involved. Ick. Who needs it?

A conflict doesn't necessarily require a resolution. It just requires the strength and presence of mind to move past it.

It only takes a few minutes of thought and a little effort to take a step back and see the conflict for what it is and not make it into something it's not. If a woman fights with her husband over who's turn it is to empty the dishwasher, she shouldn't make a disagreement about a household chore into a show of disrespect or a power play. "He knows full-well it's his turn, he just wants to see if he can control me and I'm not going to let that happen." Chill. Maybe he's just an idiot. Maybe he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe he did empty it last time and she didn't realize it because she was at the grocery store. In any case, she married the guy for a reason, right? It might be hard for her to see that reason clearly when she thinks he's being an ass but it's still there. She just needs to adjust her perspective.

I know that I have a lot of friends reading this right now and thinking it's all about them. It is, and it's not. It's not ALL about anyone. It's about everyone. It's just some advice. I think it's good advice. You may think it sucks and that's fine. I still love you. (look at that, a conflict... and now it's done.)

I'm not a Pollyanna (okay, maybe a little). I don't think people can just put all of their differences aside. Sometimes it's hard work. Sometimes it's a family member or a co-worker. Sometimes it's a friend that you work with and you get along famously outside of work but butt heads constantly in the office. In these cases, you have to work harder to compartmentalize the disagreements. "Sure, we fought for a day and a half over how to handle that account but that doesn't mean we're not still going to watch the game this weekend."

I used to work closely with one of my best friends. To be clear, we didn't make friends on the job, we were friends BEFORE working together. Actually, I was his supervisor. At work, we used to fight. Not bicker, not banter but FIGHT. That didn't make me love him any less. I didn't twist it into some crazy notion that he had some other agenda or vice versa. We'd fight at work and let it go. We've been friends for 20 years.

My point is, these conflicts, in the grand scheme of things are so minor and insignificant. They are what they are an nothing more. Differences of opinion. Conflict of views. They are nothing more and to let them consume you is, well, just dumb.

Life is so much better when you count your blessings instead of counting your misfortunes.

(There. I'm done. We now return to our regularly scheduled silly posts about parenting, fashion and other nonsense.)

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