We’ve all had this frightening conversation. With a boss, a loved one, a neighbor or a teenage son – you know exactly what kind of conversation we are talking about. You put it off until the last moment, but it couldn’t go on like this anymore. As scary as it was, one day the moment came to speak frankly.
We have all experienced the fear of confrontation at least once in our lives. Of course, anxiety before an important and difficult conversation is absolutely natural. However, if it is so strong that every time it prevents you from expressing your opinion, it’s time to change something.
How to overcome the fear of confrontation
1. Change your personal script
Start by defining the word “confrontation” itself. What meaning do you put into it? Perhaps for you this is a manifestation of aggression, and you treat it like a battle in which there can be only one winner. Or your past experience has taught you that any confrontation should be avoided because it ends in pain, resentment and regret.
In fact, confrontation at its core is just a difference of opinions and ideas, and the expectation of its catastrophic consequences is our own self-fulfilling prophecy. Try to look at it from a positive side. When you change the script in your head, overcoming anxiety will be easier.
The fear of confrontation is born in us when we treat it not as a respectful debate, but as an emotional squabble that is sure to get out of control and inevitably end with one win and the other lose. Once you understand that differing opinions don’t necessarily lead to ugly swearing, you can be more courageous in explaining your point of view.
So the next time you have to talk to another person or group of people, stop and analyze your understanding of the situation. Make sure you enter into a dialogue without negativity. Mood always affects the outcome of a conversation.
2. Learn to “rock the boat” with pleasure
Once you’ve rethought what confrontation is, allow yourself to enjoy “rocking the boat.”
The only way to get what you want is to ask and believe that it is necessary. Of course, you cannot control the reactions and actions of another person. However, you also can’t get what you don’t ask for. As long as you keep doing what you do, you will keep getting what you got.
Try to approach the confrontation with more lightheartedness and humor. Laughter lifts your spirits, relieves stress and helps you connect with others, which means that the conversation will definitely work out.
3. Get rid of the desire to please everyone
The fear of confrontation is usually associated with the person himself, and not with other people. If you are guided by an inner desire to always please others, you will avoid conflicts. As a rule, such an attitude comes from childhood, when you want to please everyone around you in order to earn approval.
Moreover, if we grow up in a neglectful and overly critical environment, it is difficult for us to defend our position. We learn that it is much safer to remain silent and keep a low profile. But it was like that in childhood, and we have long been adults and conscious people. It’s time to cheer up your inner child and tell him that his opinions and thoughts matter.
Try to deliberately disappoint others. Sounds a little crazy, but it works. Start with situations where the stakes are not too high, such as answering a resounding “no” to a request for a small favor, even if you can provide it.
The ability to say “no” can generally change life for the better. This simple word helps to set personal boundaries and thus take care of yourself. The more often you meet respect for your views and desires when you say “no”, the easier it will be for you to express your opinion.
Let’s say a loved one asked you to stop by the store on your way home and buy his favorite sweets. It’s easy for you to do this. But instead of “yes,” say, “Sorry, I can’t.” Don’t explain why unless you want to lie and make up a reason.
At first, the very idea that you won’t please someone can scare you. But with practice, you will gain inner strength, realize that other people accept your answers, begin to take confrontation much more calmly, and find the courage to speak your mind.