I’ve been struggling the last few weeks with various conflicts. I have found myself smack dab in the middle on more than one occasion for more than one topic and I’m feeling less and less like hugging anyone.
So how do we turn this around? Why bother being in the middle to begin with?
It’s a heck of a lot easier to draw straws, pick a side ‘n stick or just run the other way and pretend there is no reason to be involved. But that is not how I play. I stand where my beliefs are and as cute as I think cows can be, I don’t follow the herd unless the herd is where my beliefs live. (Ice cream herds, I’m SO there!)
An interesting fact about me and choosing sides
Because my beliefs often cross boundaries, I frequently find myself not only in the middle, but defending pieces and parts of both sides. Full body armor is usually not enough and my tendency to look for the peace keeping tactics specific to each side don’t always suffice. I am quite accustomed to hearing the rants and ravings from one side only to listen to just as many from the other… and there I sit, not always so quietly in the middle, absorbing it all so I can come out from the darkness with a light to shed on the entire situation.
Usually neither side realizes how much time I spend defending them to the other… I do it because I believe in them, not because I want treats and thank yous.
So I wonder, when my chair isn’t appreciated in that middle spot.. and someone feels the need to complain that I’m there, would their view change if they knew how much I just stood up for them? Or would they continue to complain about me? Honestly, I think they expect it more than they would appreciate it. Yet, I continue to sit in this chair I’ve created. Comfy or not, it’s mine and I’m proud of it.
I’m a big believer in direct communication
Although I will discuss issues behind closed doors and I will share insight and opinions in closed conversations. At the end of the day, the conversations are always opened to those involved regardless of how personal the issue might have originated. Why? because I think its important to be upfront. It’s important to let others know how I feel about them and how they are impacting my life. I also think its important to realize not everyone is going to agree and its ok to not follow the same path. The “end of the day” might be weeks from now, but it eventually comes and the whole thought process is shared. Heard or understood, I don’t always know. I put it out there and let it go.
Now here is a disappointing reality
What I am learning most recently is that no matter how upfront or forthcoming I am, there will always be those that face-to-face will be on one side, yet when out of sight, join the other team. Maybe they were a competitor all along or maybe they just didn’t want to hurt my feelings with their criticisms face-to-face. Either way, its dishonest, disappointing and disheartening. It makes me deeply sad to witness this kind of behavior, even moreso when its individuals I hold close to my heart.
How tiring would that be to play both sides? How exhausting is it to have to carrying around so many faces or game bags? I can’t do it. I have a hard enough time remembering where I put my socks I just put on. How could I doodle big grins if I spent so much of my time angry or disappointed or irritated? That’s like trying to enjoy a delightful slice of cheesecake with a green olive in your mouth.
There’s a fine line between respect and polite behavior vs pretending to get along just to save face in front of whomever.
So how do we make it all work when things seem to be a tighter squeeze than we’d like?
No, we don’t run and hide or pick a side we don’t 100% support. We stand our ground. That’s it. In the long run one side will loosen up, lose interest or move on. Until then, pretend its a great big hug and find that happy place way down deep in the midst of your being. It is there and it is waiting to embrace the you that you are trying to hold true.