Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Blessed Be the Peace Keepers (I hope)

I am constantly in the midst of figuring myself out. I don’t know if that ever stops in life but right now, early on in my 30s, it is a serious quest. I had a realization about myself about two weeks ago: I’m a peace keeper. Who would have thought? My profession causes me to fight a lot of battles daily but really, I work extremely hard to make things amicable. I settle cases. I am admittedly and proudly not a “bull dog”. The fact that I am proud to admit this to potential clients probably causes me to lose a few here and there but you know, you can’t be what you aren’t. It’s better for them to have no misconceptions at the get go.

I’ve realized that there are times when I take it in the teeth so to speak to keep things from going from bad to worse or fine to bad. I’m not sure what it is that makes me decide to handle things in that way but it always ends with me having a knot in my stomach. Recently, I had to do this twice over the same situation. It was a situation where rather than inflame the situation I stood quiet and just felt bad but did what I thought would allow the other person to feel better. Then about a week after that occurred I spent some time with a friend who I often have to bite my tongue around so as not to show that my feelings were hurt and to allow them to feel better about themselves.

It’s sort of hard.

I don’t know what it is that makes me feel that it is an acceptable way to be in relationship with people. I would hope that if I hurt your feelings at some point you would tell me without hesitation so I can apologize and fix the behavior. I don’t know why I don’t allow myself to realize other people might feel the same way.

And actually, in hindsight this behavior started back in high school. For example, I can’t tell you how many times I had a “crush” on a boy and I would tell one friend or another about it and the next thing I knew they were “dating” him. It was like by giving him my stamp of approval it was time for that friend to swoop in and do something about. Sure it was my fault for being shy or wanting the boy to want me and pursue me (that shortcoming – if it is one - continues to this day) but I always swallowed my feelings and justified it to myself that at least two out of three people were happy in the situation. If I did anything about it then three out of three people would be sad. Actually, come to think of it – it happened in college too. Ick.

So I’m turning over a new leaf. I’m not going to allow myself to feel bad at the benefit of other people anymore. I’m still going to be tactful and careful and kind but I’m going to start telling people when they hurt my feelings and when I feel their behavior is hurtful. Hopefully, it will lead to accountability for me as well as my friends return the favor.

But now I have a favor to ask of you, my friends. If you become one of those friends who are told that my feelings were hurt by your behavior please take it as nothing but an attempt to make myself better as a person and our relationship stronger by not allowing my feelings to be hurt to no one’s benefit. You have to know that I feel our friendship is strong enough for me to tell you in the first place and my actions are not with the intent to hurt you but rather filled with the I hope we will become better friends because of it. Maybe in reality keeping the peace doesn’t do anyone any favors after all.

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