Pursue Peace, Even If It Means Losing Relationships

When I have difficult life decisions or conflict with people who are close to me, I now have the working understanding of what peace truly looks like for me.

I’m in a season of life where I NEED.

After much practice and numerous failed attempts to voice those needs, I’ve also become bolder in my requests, which makes me feel simultaneously uncomfortable and empowered. One of the life lessons that is wound up in this season of life is that I need peace. Not the semblance of peace, or the absence of conflict, but the actual peace that comes from a series of choices that produces it.

Spoiler alert: Choosing peace really pisses people off.

So, I know you’re wondering: How do I obtain this mythical peace? How is that possible when I’m pissing people off?

I’m glad you asked.

First, you have to stop worrying so much about how other people view your needs and your choices. I know. It sounds easy in theory, but it is hard in practice. All of life's really valuable lessons are like this, babes. This is just a thing you’ll have to get used to.

Next, you need to determine the difference between keeping the peace and obtaining the peace. Only you know that fine line and have the power to honor it.

Here’s what it looks like for me: I had a family member who was prone to extreme emotional dominance and could not handle any sort of pushback, or even the perception of pushback. They would go into a tailspin when they felt threatened by other family members if they were uncooperative or did not agree with them. For many years, I assumed if I didn’t rock the boat and could somehow manage to not upset this person, then things would be easy. Easy equaled peace (in my mind) for a long time, and conflict felt too hard to manage.

Friends, this was not peace. This was co-dependency.

The worst thing that I could imagine happening totally happened and it was terrifically sad and upsetting. And it was also the path to peace that I had wanted desperately for years.

Eventually, the price of keeping the relationship’s peace cost me my own confidence, my own way of carrying out emotionally healthy practices, and it spilled into many other relationships. Before I knew it, I was not only terrified of creating conflict, I was terrified of resolving it. With the support of my little network, I confronted the situation head on. I was sick with worry that it would be the end of our relationship.

And it was.

The worst thing that I could imagine happening totally happened and it was terrifically sad and upsetting. And it was also the path to peace that I had wanted desperately for years.

As it turns out, it was also the path to a new relationship with this family member. It took time. It took a lot of work on my end to hold my new way of being. It took a major level of practiced and loving detachment. Most of all, though, it took follow-through to my commitment to pursuing peace. Several years later, I am so thankful for the decision to pursue genuine peace rather than pursuing the semblance of it. It allowed the healing and relationship I desired to unfold in a beautiful way.

When I have difficult life decisions or conflict with people who are close to me, I now have the working understanding of what peace truly looks like for me.

It looks like freedom to be fully who I am.

It looks like the ability to ask for what I need without demanding that it happen.

It looks like giving up the illusion of control over other people’s behaviors and reactions.

It looks like owning and facing conflict.

It looks like doing all of these things, even if it means losing something or someone I love.

It looks like choosing the life I want, not a life I survive.

Pursue what brings you peace, darling. You deserve to live out your own peaceful paths. Let other people manage their own. 

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