Confidence and Confrontation

Many of us fear confrontation.  We fear losing the person’s friendship, respect, our jobs or any number of perceived losses.

Whatever the fear, we put off having the conversation until the situation becomes intolerable, at which time we explode with a fury that far exceeds the perceived offense.  The result?  Greater likelihood that our fears will be realized.

Confident people, while they may still experience the same fears, are able to quickly set their fears aside and deal with the situation before it escalates.  Here’s how.


Confident people:

  • Know that they can resolve the issue without damaging the relationship.
  • Use their fear to help them create a response that considers the other person’s needs…their need to be respected, treated with dignity and entitled to their own opinion.
  • Couch their message (disagreement) in language that honors these needs.
  • In doing the above, gains the respect of the person with whom they disagree.
  • Avoid the very costly escalation that is inevitable when the issue goes unaddressed.

With this knowledge, confident people:

  • Deal with issues as they arise, preventing any chance of escalation.
  • Gain the respect of the person with whom they’re dealing…even though they disagree.
  • Strengthen instead of damaging the relationship.
  • Free themselves of the fear, anxiety and frustration that would fester in an unresolved state…and return them to the joyful life they so richly deserve.
  • Free the other person of the inevitable slights they would otherwise impose on the person for their “offense.”
  • Enhance their confidence, making it easier for them to deal with issues as they arise in the future.

That’s a lot of benefit from some simple actions.  So what’s the key to making this behavior a habit?

The key

Seneca the younger said it well when he said:

“We are more often frightened than hurt;

and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

You know from personal experience that what you imagine is far worse than you experience.  How often have you caught yourself saying “That wasn’t as bad as I thought.”?

Keeping in the fore of your mind that your fears are almost always worse than the reality, you can easily set aside your fears and deal with whatever you’re facing with greater confidence. 

When your actual experience bears out the fact that your fears were unfounded, you’ll gain confidence in your ability to deal with anything that comes your way, which enables you to more easily set aside future fears.  It won’t take long and you’ll have retrained your mind to see the benefits of dealing with issues as they arise.

When that happens, life becomes easier.  You’ll experience less stress and anxiety.  Your life will be filled with joy, peace and a belief that you can handle anything that comes your way…and you can.

For our kids

Remember that your most powerful teaching tool is your own behavior.  Kids emulate what they see in the behaviors of the adults in their lives.  The more that you demonstrate the power, and confidence, of dealing with difficult situations without fear, the more likely they’ll adopt these behaviors as well.  They may even ask your advice from time to time.

Another useful tool in teaching your kids to deal with confrontation is to ask them:

  • What are you afraid will happen?
  • If that happened, how would you deal with it?
  • How can you address the issue while still allowing the other person feel good about themselves?
  • If you don’t deal with the issue, what do you think will happen?
  • Is it more or less likely that your fear will be realized if you address the issue now versus later?
  • Is there any reason to postpone having the discussion?

I’m sure you noticed that all of the above are questions.  All people, regardless of age, are more likely to act when they discover the answers to their problem than when they are told what to do.  We human beings are skeptical by nature; we tend not to trust what we’re told.

At the same time, we trust implicitly the answers we discover on our own.

For more teaching confidence tips and exercises, check out our home page.

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