Conflict # 40 – Looking Good

You probably know that having “a short fuse” refers to someone who is quickly angered. Since anger fuels conflict, we might wonder, what fuels anger. The answer? Lots of things. In this case let’s look at the mother of all fuels.

Through fourteen years at a center for troubled teens, my staff and I learned to address a kid when he or she was out of line. One cardinal rule: Never encounter the teen in front of the other kids. We would always separate the offending teen from the others, and only then tell him or her quietly about the consequences for the bad behavior.

Every parent, teacher, cop and coach should observe this at all times. Unfortunately, many authority figures do not do so; maybe they don’t understand the damage that public humiliation can do. For many people, especially those who feel powerless – like kids – being humiliated is the hottest of all triggers.

No one wants to look bad, especially in front of peers. It seems it’s part of our human nature to want to look good, no matter the situation. Looking bad means we can expect rejection, criticism, contempt and maybe even being kicked out of the group. The ultimate fear involved in all this? (You may recall my assertion that fear is at the root of all negative emotions.) It’s the fear of being alone.

This applies not only to youth, but to everyone. If you have conflict with someone, and one or both of you tends to air it in front of others … don’t! Now, you may be tempted to do it, because the other person did it. Do you really want to get into that “he hit me first” kindergarten stuff? Of course not.

If you’re in this pattern and would like help, why not call me for a free consultation? The number is 219-309-3928. I’d be glad to be of help.

Thanks for reading!