When I make bone-headed decisions, or, in the case of this past cortisol-infested pandemic year, lash out because of stress or fear, I remember the wise words of Maya Angelou.
The saying is steeped in grace, isn’t it? It allows us to acknowledge our shortcomings, and yet, it gives us hope that maybe we can grow past them and become better humans. These seven little words scream, “it’ll be all right.”
And that gives me peace.
But it doesn’t help those that were unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of things. The driver watching the person next to them use rude gestures and scream because they inadvertently got in their way. Or the customer service representative forced to listen to a tirade and threats.
The coworker whose thoughtlessness unleashed the beast within.
We all have the ability to rage and say hateful things in the heat of the moment. It’s an unfortunate by-product of passion and humanity.
And, while we can use Maya’s words as a mantra to console our regretful hearts, it does little to help those on the other end of the proverbial stick.
Most of us tend to put people in categories. Good or evil. Friend or foe. Nice or mean. Open-minded or closed. The list goes on and on, and once someone slips into thoughtless anger and allows their emotions to rule, their category is changed in our hearts, and the relationship is forever sullied.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Learning to resolve conflict helps heal both parties and can often give insight and strengthen relationships.
Take Will Smith, for example. His persona is chalked full of humor, kindness, and intelligence. But early in his career, his insecurity and immaturity ended up destroying Janet Hubert’s career. With the help of a counselor, this is how he resolved a wound that had been festering for almost thirty years.
Resolving conflict isn’t easy, but it can be done. And with resolution comes a finality that helps us heal from the wounds of our past, so we can finally move on.