For the longest time, I’ve avoided conflict. During heated moments, my tongue would become paralyzed - as my chest, knotted in fear. Fear of hurting someone who could potentially be my friend. In these moments, I lose the ability to speak - or think. The anticipation of emotions reach such a threshold that I’m simply unable to remain composed. My words flail, and my voice falters. I can’t seem to find a balance between self-expression, and ensuring that the other side doesn’t get hurt. Ultimately, I end up sounding more like the criminal, than someone who is proclaiming his own innocence.
Something has changed though. Perhaps due to my recent bout of depression, my empathy for those around me has increased. Conversely, I’ve also become less perturbed, or bothered by the unexpected curveballs that people throw my way - curve balls thrown by individuals who I thought were allies, but turns out to be something else instead.
In a way, I am both more sensitive, and less caring at the same time. A beautiful place to be in. I genuinely care about others, but I’m no longer in a place to allow their non-sense to bring me down. Or, I’m at least better at it.
The other day, right as I was about to let in a mürmur guest, I noticed that my roommate hadn’t yet left the apartment. I knocked on his door and let him know of the impending guest. Unexpectedly, he started to make a fuss about how he had to leave the apartment every time I conduct one of my conversations - Perfectly understandable, but that had had been our agreement from the very start.
The tension in the air was palpable. He was getting worked up. I could also feel myself getting anxious. Where the hell is this coming from? Why am I hearing about this right now - just seconds before my mürmur? I thought I knew you better man...
After he left, I went through my mürmur knowing that in one hour, we would be having a sit-down to clear the air. Although I anticipated it with a trace of anxiety, I was also sure of myself. Because you know why? I care about him. I care about my roommate. I care about him because he lives in my house, and I want nothing more than his own happiness. Even if he is wrong, even if he is being unreasonable - at the end of the day, his happiness, is contingent on my happiness.
So often, in situations such as these, people have a tendency to make it only about themselves. But, by placing the focus on the other side, you get results that actually better benefit you. People just want to be acknowledged for their frustrations - that’s all.
By the time we sat down, I felt composed. My chest felt giddy, but I wasn’t tongue-tied. I’ve cultivated a method of explanation that not only soothed him, but also, directly conveyed my message. Pure, unadulterated, and direct. Without hurt - only with love, and care.
Although we resolved the problem amicably, in all honesty, something tells me this won’t be our last quibble. But instead of watching him with a cautious eye, I’ll continue operating business as usual. I can’t allow myself to become a prisoner to the caprice of those around me. I have to live my life without suspicion. I have to breathe without worry. I won’t allow for anyone to jeopardize that. And if some bullshit should arise again, I will once again, operate on love. As long as that’s my main form of ammunition, my finger will always feel comfortable on the trigger. I won’t sweat, and I won’t be petrified. Instead of hesitation, I will fire away knowing it’s all for the best. Because these bullets don’t hurt, but only soothe.
(Originally Published May 22, 2018)