Pretend you are sitting quietly and all of a sudden, the door opens and in comes a fierce tiger from the jungle. What would you do?
- Run away as fast as your legs would carry you? Perhaps you would try to hide behind an object with the hope that the tiger won’t get you.
- Try to defend yourself by picking up the closest object and either using it as a shield or as a weapon?
- Pretend that you are like opossums who just hang from their tails and look dead?
The answer that you choose is an indication of how you psychologically handle trouble in your life. Some people use flight. Others fight and a third group would freeze.
I try to encourage clients that instead of these three options, they decide to feed the tiger! You see if you feed the tiger, it will be less dangerous, lie down under a tree and go to sleep. It will likely be more satisfied than if you use the first three options
Most people state that they dislike conflict and so they never deal with it in a healthy manner. They run from it, become aggressive or just pretend it doesn’t exist. That doesn’t solve anything. They receive a voice mail message or text from someone and suspect that a conversation will be difficult. They don’t bother to open their mail. They avoid people when they think that there might be a confrontation.
Rather than doing these things, try instead to feed the tiger. How do you do that? Here are some suggestions:
- Face reality – Quit denying that there is a problem.
- Stay calm – Acting out in a loud or abusive manner won’t help.
- Ask questions – Gather as much information as you need to have a clear understanding of the problem.
- Think before you act – You might even need to delay your response for some time.
- Consult with a wise mentor – This will provide new insight and strategic options.
- Show respect – I have had a beautiful Norman Rockwell print on my wall for years. It shows people of different ethnicities with a caption “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Good advice.
- Maintain your dignity – Even if the other person acts inappropriately you don’t have to do the same.
- Apologize – It is never one person’s fault but do acknowledge the part you played in the issue.
- Pray for the other person – Or if that isn’t comfortable, at least wish him/her well.
- Let it go – Resentment and lack of forgiveness hurts you more than it will ever hurt anyone else.
So, this week think about the tigers that you have been running away from, treating abusively or avoiding. You likely aren’t feeling good about the situation
Perhaps it is time to feed the tiger which basically means dealing with it in a manner that will bring a calm resolution.
You can do it! And I am pretty sure you will be glad you did.Even if the other person isn’t in the same place, there will be peace knowing that you did your best