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Peace

This is the first blog to be written for the challenge I issued myself last month - click here if you missed it.


Be selective in your battles, sometimes peace is better than being right. - Unknown
It was the weekend before my last full year of college, and there I was... curled up against a concrete block wall crying my eyes out in my friends' dorm room.
The day before, I'd written an altogether too difficult email to my oldest sister.
I'd felt like I needed to call her out on something she was doing.
She'd vehemently disagreed, and ripped me a new one in her response.

Maybe there are some people reading this, and they can't understand what the big deal is.
I've known a few people more than capable of doing exactly this kind of thing without having a problem.
To all of those people - I wish I could be you.

I wish I could be you because, generally speaking, I hate conflict.
Put that together with a need to please the people around me (especially the people I love), and you've got a noxious combination.
In the past, it's taken an exhausting amount of courage for me to say anything to anyone about things that bother me...
Much less to speak up about something someone is doing wrong.

So, needless to say, my sister's response gutted me.
It gutted me, and it took me two months to work through all of the emotions that sprang up as a result of what she said.
During that time, I didn't call her, email, or snail mail her.
I avoided all communication with her because I needed to figure out how to move forward without her presence forcing me to make a hasty decision about what to do.

At the end of the day, I opted for peace.
I opted for a continued relationship with my sister.
I forgave her, then sucked it up and apologized for the way I had chosen to call her out (because, in all fairness, there were things I could have done differently).
That two months hadn't done anything to change the way she felt about what she was doing didn't thrill me, but she did forgive me, and we (to a degree) have been able to move forward.

When I look at that time now, I see it as a defining moment in terms of how I handle conflict.
Often, it's still difficult for me to work up the nerve to step into battle in the first place, but it is easier than it used to be.
 I've learned that it's so much better to speak up and fight a small battle than let matters explode into nuclear war.

I've also come to realize that, in and out of the heat of conflict, I spend a lot of time trying to prove I'm right.
These days, I'm aware enough of what I'm doing to stop myself before I get too far in.
Half the battle, right?

I don't have to be right. I don't have to be right. I don't have to be...

One day - I hope sooner rather than later - I won't even have to say this to myself.
One day, I'll know it.
Oh, how I look forward to that day.

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