Keeping the Peace?

Are you a peacekeeper or peacemaker ? No, they are not the same. When growing up I would have called myself a peacekeeper and I still tend to fall into that mode,  but I am learning.

A peacekeeper will keep the peace no matter the cost.They will sacrifice what they really want, just to keep everyone happy for they don’t want to stir the waters. They don’t like conflict and will avoid it whenever they can.

A peacemaker will try to make peace, try to diffuse tense situations, but they do it in a healthy way.  Giving in to keep the peace is not really keeping the peace, it can be more like trying to shove a big elephant under the rug!

You can try to smooth the rug over the elephant, but there will still be lumps there.

Yes, there are situations that aren’t worth stirring up conflict over. Situations which may be very appropriate for you to just give in when you weigh out what it will matter in the long run.

Kind of like being a parent and choosing your battles. Sometimes that might mean that instead of yelling for the 100th time about your child’s messy room, you just close the door and walk away. Your child grows older and I am pleased to say, it does get better! Its music to your ears when you hear them say, “I have got to clean my room tonight” and a stunning sight to the eyes when you see that they did!

Then there are the situations where you need to take a stand for yourself, even if it does stir up conflict. I had to do that at one of the first job’s that I had. I worked at a Dr.s office and for some reason the manager did not like me. I got along fine with the Dr. and the rest of the office staff, but unfortunately not her.  She made it very clear many times that I was on her black list. Everyone could tell and they were just as puzzled as I was.

It grew very frustrating for she never could give me a good reason of why she didn’t like me and there seemed to be nothing I could do to gain her favor. No matter what I did she would yell at me in front of patients and the staff and because I didn’t like conflict I let her do it to me. I thought I was keeping the peace, but I was just hurting myself.  I was enabling her to just continue treating me that way.

I gave myself a severe case of reflux due to the stress. I seriously was like drinking Maalox for  quite awhile. My family Dr. said I was very close to having a stomach ulcer and she suggested that for my health I quit, which I did end up doing.

There are times we won’t be able to make peace and in those times we have to choose what the best thing to do is. I had talked to the Dr.and I tried to talk to the manager different times.  I tried to understand what her problem was, but she refused to talk about it.  She had been the office manager for years and the Doctor pretty much just let her do whatever she wanted to do. She was the boss.

Peace is a wonderful thing, but if we are hurting ourselves in the process of keeping the peace, then we have some serious questions to ask.

I think I shared on here before about the time I was in charge at a Fast Food Restaurant and it was an employee’s turn to squeeze lemons for our lemonade. She decided she wasn’t going to do it, just because she didn’t want to. I told her she either took her turn or she could go home. She threatened that she would punch my face in.  Yes, I was shaking inside, for she was much bigger than me, (not exactly hard to be)

I could have kept the peace by just giving her another job to do, but what kind of message would that have sent to the other employees? Plus the next time it came to be her turn to squeeze lemons she would think she could get away with not doing it again. It would be like trying to smooth the rug over an elephant again. So I held my ground and soon she was squeezing lemons, though not exactly with a smile!  But my face remained untouched, so I was smiling.

I think there are people who naturally can handle conflict better than some others, but we all can learn to stand up for ourselves. We can all learn that sometimes keeping the peace is not the same as being a peacemaker. What are your experiences? How do you handle conflict?