Confrontation is only scary when speculative “what ifs” are prioritized over fact. Like mold in the dark, anticipatory anxiety multiplies exponentially in the unknown of confrontation.
Someone close to me had to have a difficult conversation this week. The subject matter was uncomfortable but needed to be addressed quickly due to an approaching work deadline.
All week they poured over the possibilities of how that confrontation would go. “What if they don’t see my side? What if they’re mad at me? What if they change the story and make me look bad to others?”
Believe it or not, playing out every possible scenario did not relieve that person’s anxiety. Instead, it made them feel the negative emotions of what could happen before anything even did happen.
All of those questions were kindling being thrown on the fire of anxiety, creating a flame so large it could only be extinguished by cold hard facts.
After days of discussing, we realized together that all of the above questions had one thing in common: we wouldn’t have their answers until the confrontation was over. The longer it was avoided, the hotter the anxiety fire burned.
The conversation did not go perfectly, but the anticipation and abstract battles were over. Facts were the only things left, and with those a plan of action could be calmly formed.