Right off the top you might be thinking, “how does the show ‘Seinfeld’ help one get past the fear of confrontation?” That’s OK, the title isn’t quite clear at first, so I will explain. I posted a video at the bottom of this article if you would rather watch than read, so be sure to check it out if you prefer.
Lately I have been very busy with CE as I have been making the third feature documentary from CE, and on top of that I have all my regular daily CE tasks to take care of. Then of course there is taking time to relax and social life as well, so my schedule has been full and it was stretching me a little thin. I decided that I would finally check out the show Seinfeld while taking a bit more time to chill out as I had never watched it growing up and everyone kept telling me to check it out. A couple of nights a week I would put on an episode and enjoy the well written sit-com that is Seinfeld. Soon enough I noticed some powerful lessons coming out of the show. Go figure.
Fear of Confrontation
I have had a fear of confrontation for a long time, almost as far back as I can remember. There is something about not wanting to ever deal with sticky situations with people and always feeling like I was ‘the bad one’ if I ever created any confrontation. Whether it be having to approach someone close to you about something that could upset them, or having to ask for something where the answer could create some tension. I always chose to avoid doing it as long as I could. This of course built up a lot of emotions surrounding the issue and made things more complicated than they needed to be.
Having started and put a lot of time and effort into Collective Evolution over the 4.5 years it has been around, I ended up being put into the position of “the boss” as it is often joked about here at the office. Long story short, this means I often have to approach members of the team about things, talk about changes and sometimes do things that ultimately I fear will make me look like I am egotistical or mean. Of course this was all in my head and it was stories I had created and reinforced in fear that I would upset my friends because that is who makes up the team here at CE. On a number of occasions this recurring theme would come up and I would speak to my friends about it and although no one saw me in the mean or egotistical light I often feared I was being perceived in, I still played with this fear of confrontation.
What Seinfeld Taught Me
Watching Seinfeld was awesome because it allowed me to see a group of friends interacting with each other in an honest and refreshing way. Sure, it’s a TV show and not everything is going to be ‘real life,’ but at the same time there is something that can be gained from everything and in this case I got to see what it is like for people to confront one another in a way I wish I could. Were they mean about it? No. Egotistical about it? No. They simply confronted each other about things and openly pointed out little mind stories within their friends that led to their growth as people.
I decided, why not make this a part of my reality as well. Why not start expressing how I felt, drop the fear of how others will perceive me and just face things head on. My current method certainly wasn’t working out too well and I knew this needed to be addressed now so there was no better time.
What I Started To Do
Before I get into this, note that confronting someone about something never has to be rude, mean, non-peaceful or hurtful. I truly believe that even the most challenging confrontations do not require anything but an open mind and love to get through it quite easily. In fact, I believe that things move along the fastest and most effectively when approaching it in this manner. Instead of going in to it gung-ho ready to make your point, just be neutral, open and honest.
One of the first things I noticed on the show was the characters ability to make eye contact with each other no matter what they were confronting each other about. Even though the show is not ‘real,’ it is still a good reflection of how we should connect with each other in conversation. I had always avoided eye contact when it came to confrontation and I noticed many others did as well, so I thought this is probably a key factor to pay attention to when having to confront people about things. So I began paying closer attention to eye contact and ultimately I started to look people in the eyes as much I could when speaking with them about something that made me uncomfortable to approach them about. This made a huge difference in not only the dynamic of the conversation but how well two people connect when having these types of conversations.
Growth For Everyone
Although I knew that when we approach people about things and get things moving it will lead to growth for everyone involved, when it came to confrontation, I was holding back and not putting it fully into practice. It is so important to realize that even if we have to tell someone something and they may be ‘hurt’ as a result, in the end it will only lead to growth for them. Whether it is giving them a suggestion to adjust something, telling them things aren’t working out or simply needing to move on, growth for both you and them will come. At a higher level, the situation has been created and is being asked to come about because the changes need to be made, even if the mind doesn’t it see it this way right away. By holding back, we are only prolonging growth and asking for more of these situations to come about at ever-increasing intensity until we get the point.
Leaving Emotions Aside
Your mind might want to come up with a number of reasons why we should feel sad, scared, angry, worried etc. about something we need to talk to someone about. Observe it, recognize it and then realize it is nothing but your mind coming up with stories. I know it is not always easy, but it is something that with practice we can get to quite easily. Before you go into your conversation, be sure to leave those emotions aside. In the end, you will realize things are never as scary as we make them out to be before we do them.
Putting these things into my life has not only brought our group dynamic together in an even better way, but it also has translated to even richer experiences of growth due to how easy it is becoming to approach one another about things. It certainly was not half as hard as I thought it would be to begin getting over this fear and while I may not be 100% there yet, I feel I am on a great track and I wanted to inspire others to begin doing this as well. Watch as your life and environment transforms as you make these changes within yourself.
If you have any comments tips or your own experiences, be sure to leave them in the comments below!
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