How to Stop Avoiding Conflict Just to Please Others

4 December 2018 | by Gina Lucia

I’m going to be all cliche and start this post with a quote:

“If you avoid conflict to keep the peace, you start a war inside yourself.”Cheryl Richardson

how to stop avoiding conflict

I used to be a serial people pleaser, I would avoid conflict as much as possible. Girls are more often socialised to be people pleasers. Your level of people pleaser-ness will be determined by your parents or your school environment.

The comparison here between men and women is stark, you will see it in everyday life. We’re taught to do as we’re told, to be quiet and sweet, to only play the games that are innocent, we are taught to please others. Men, on the other hand, are allowed to make mistakes, push boundaries because boys will be boys. They play loud games, physical games, they learn how much they can push. I’m generalising here but in some way or other, all children (that I know of) have been raised in this gender binary way.

So, if you have a little people pleaser streak in you, here’s why and how to stop avoiding conflict so you can actually get the things you want.

How to stop avoiding conflict

If you avoid conflict regularly, you probably do it because it’s much easier than having that argument or annoying someone. But you know as well as I do that avoiding an argument to save yourself, actually harms you.

Take this personal (and very trivial) example:

Me and my husband went through a period a little while back of being a little busy. The result of this was that the house (which is also my office) fell into ruin. We had piles of dishes, random pieces of clothing in weird places, the whole house was a mess and I was stressed as a result.

I could have let it go, after all, we’d been busy, so I could do a little tidying up each day and the house would be back to normal. That decision would have probably avoided an argument, but it would have also set a precedent.

The argument was had, it was obviously not pleasant, but there was something amazing that came at the end of it – a solution. We came to an agreement which would ensure something like this wouldn’t happen again and solidified the idea that we are a team and we work together.

For five minutes of hell (I hate arguing), I was rewarded with something that made my life better. If you stop avoiding conflict, you can have this too.

If you stop avoiding conflict, you will get what you want

I know this sounds obvious, but can you imagine if you spoke your mind at a meeting, asked someone person to stop being rude to you, or had that argument? Your opinion would finally be out there, your voice would be louder, you would finally be heard.

I know it’s easier to let things slide, and sometimes that’s the right thing to do. But when that thing impacts your life and the future actions of others, it’s time to stop avoiding conflict, and start running towards it.

This post isn’t about how to argue, or what to say when in conflict. I know you know how to do it well and appropriately. What I want from you is to understand that conflict, healthy conflict, is okay. In fact, it’s good. No progress ever came from everybody agreeing with each other.

Don’t let your voice be silenced, speak up and you will be heard.

Featured image by Mel Poole

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