A common misconception holds that confrontation is synonymous with aggression, hostility and rage, and therefore must be avoided all costs. That no good can come from confrontation and it will all end in “tears” or violence.
This is far from the case; an important aspect of our wellness is the ability to confront others. And if we can do this in a reasonable and articulate way, confrontation can prove strengthening and potentially healthful — not only for ourselves, but for the person we seek to confront.
It is perhaps an art form, this ability to integrate feelings and language, to present an experience with clarity and authenticity. Positive confrontation takes time to master and requires work.
Perhaps we fear a confrontation simply will spark a burst of anger accompanied by a series of “you” statements — those dreaded “all” or “never” sentences. The ones that say, “You never tell me anything positive,” or, “You always think of yourself first.”
Expressing the injustices we faced may simply be turned around by the other person and perceived as battle lines drawn. Then where are you? You may come away feeling that the effort you made toward a positive confrontation wasn’t worth it, and what a silly article Dr. Wood wrote in the first place!
Even so, the case for healthy confrontation is strong: Stored negative energy may be transformed, feelings may be shared, your voice will be expressed and an overall sense of well being may result from no longer having stored-up resentments that otherwise would only fester and become larger.
A confrontation does not necessarily mean that the other party will agree with you, or even see your point of view. This is important to understand because many people who won’t confront others fear being minimized or misunderstood. While that might be the case, it is no reason to avoid healthy confrontation.
If someone does not see your point of view, it does not mean that you are not worth “seeing.” Your perspective is valuable regardless. You found the courage to express yourself in a reasonable way — and that matters!
Some of your confrontees may well be able to empathize with your experience and perspective — perhaps they will even apologize, or be open to an ongoing conversation.
The unknown also offers many possibilities and potential for change, which is important. The outcome of positive confrontation is for you and you alone — that you have found your voice, expressed your feelings and communicated whatever discomfort or longing or loss you experienced.
Be careful not to generalize, for your issue easily can be derailed. Stay focused, stay balanced, stay true to your experience and you may be surprised what a weight is lifted at the end of the day.