The 5th Fact Of Life Which I Learned The Hard Way

fact of lifeI spent a few days last week in an amazing workshop that focused on the skill of listening and communications in general. One of the modules concentrated on conflict resolution and confrontation and it was during that module that I was reminded of the 5th fact of life which I learned the hard way.

As a professional Life Coach it is my number one task with any client is to listen first and foremost, so you might think a workshop like this might be a no-brainer, redundant, and maybe even boring but that was not the case at all.

My motto is to Always Be Learning and I believe you should take on every chance you have to pick up new skills or to sharpen your current skill set whenever you can.

The 5th Fact Of Life Which I Learned The Hard Way

So in addition to the 4 Facts Of Life That I Learned The Hard Way I was reminded of the 5th fact of life which I will share with you here.:

If you have a problem, not talking about it will not make it go away.

That seems simple enough… right? But believe it or not, I used to be horrible with confrontation and discussing issues, be it at work, my personal life, or in relationships. My belief was that if you did not discuss something that might be wrong and bring it into the light of day, then nothing could be wrong; not the most optimal coping mechanism is it?

I came by this tactic honestly from my family, both immediate and extended, and it was the way things were handled by most people where I grew up. You never discussed bad things within the family and you NEVER discussed bad things with people outside of the family, EVER. There was always some silent agreement inferred that there were things you just did not talk about… mental illnesses such as depression were always minimized as someone just having “bad nerves” and in some cases even the details of the death of a family member in the past were never ever disclosed. Often the running story or narrative that you were left to believe was that whomever just “got sick and died,” end of story.

This mode of problem solving was ingrained in me and I carried it with me into adulthood with disastrous results. I was the master of sweeping things under the rug for years as I refused to discuss or bring up problems, some times BIG PROBLEMS, believing they would all somehow magically disappear and magically go away – if we don’t talk about something then everything is just fine. In the end, going through life this way cost me dearly in so many ways and in too many way for me to count. Fortunately, I learned there was a better way but I did learn this fact of life the hard way.

Confrontation is important.

Talking about things is important.

Getting things out into the open and being transparent… important.

When something is wrong or if you disagree with something, you have three options:

  1. You can accept it for what it is but that does not mean ignore it or sweep it under the rung, it means true acceptance.
  2. You can remove yourself from the situation by deciding it is unhealthy, unproductive or maybe even unsolvable. It doesn’t mean to run away to just escape, but to use your judgment and walk away towards things more suitable.
  3. You can confront the issue, talk about it, and come up with a workable solution for you and all parties involved.

Given the opportunity, option number three is ALWAYS your best option. You see, when you bring things out into the open, when you give something a name, whenever something is exposed to the light, it loses its power over you and over others as well. Hiding an issue or problem behind closed doors only feeds it, which allows it to grow and become stronger. As bad as I once was about not bringing things up, I am the opposite now with even the smallest things and what I have learned is that bringing things up is the quickest way to solve a problem and move on in life, happily.

There is the old saying that goes, “you’re only as sick as your secrets.” And by refusing to confront and sweep matters aside and hide them, you end up making yourself and your life more toxic.

Don’t fall into the trap of not taking about your problems or other issues believing they will just go away over time. They don’t. It might be uncomfortable at first learning how bring less than pleasant subjects up with other people, but like most things, it takes practice and over time it does get easier.

This is the 5th fact of life which I learned the hard way. Are there any other lessons or facts of life that you insisted on learning the hard way? What would you add to this list?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 07 December 2016

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