Keeping the peace

Everything's gonna be alrightI often let a thought spin around in my head, almost like a ball on a roulette wheel. The idea will spin and spin and when I least expect it, click into place. I wrote about taking a class on the Enneagram last week. Some of the information was new, but not all. I’d been researching the tool for a while. The idea that rolled around in my head related to what is referred to as the “childhood wound,” of the type.

For the Enneagram 9, which is what I typed as, it’s “if everything around me is ok, I am ok.” It can lead to being a peacemaker, mediator and generally keeping life around you calm. I can completely relate. Figuring out where the “wound” comes from isn’t necessarily important, it’s the story we create for ourselves to make sense of the world around us. What’s important to address is the lasting impact.

What clicked for me the other day was that I have, not infrequently, put myself into situations where I knew on the frontside the person I was talking to had opposing views to mine, and in my mind I always though, “It’s going to be alright, we’ll figure it out.” What I realized is that, those situations always worked out because I stepped aside. Meaning, the belief or thought that I had took a backseat. I either abandon it or set it aside for the sake of keeping the peace.

Oddly, it’s a different story at work where I navigate opposing views regularly. The difference, I think, is that I’m operating as a healthy version of the 9 at work. In my personal life, the difference is too close, the risk of upsetting the harmony I crave to great. So I play small. I don’t speak up. I’m silent when I need to use my voice. I turn inside myself and risk withdrawing.

I share this because I doubt that I’m alone. Women, in particular, acquiesce. We keep the peace, in our homes, with our family, with our children, our spouses. It’s a wiring. Which isn’t a bad thing. But if we’re keeping the peace at the expense of ourselves, our own ideas, beliefs and opinions, it’s not healthy. I was told once by a therapist, when discussing my people pleasing tendencies, that if you are always focused on pleasing others, you’re slowly giving yourself away. That results in resentment and a slow erosion of your essential self. That’s not God’s plan.

There are times when we might compromise, that’s part of normal living with other people. But I’ve come to realize that if you are compromising on your core beliefs, the essence of who you are and what you believe in, that’s a different story. Compromising on where to go to dinner is another ballgame.

So now what? Has any of this struck a cord with you? If it has, you may need to look at how you construct your life and how “everything will be alright.” Maybe, you could try on, “this part might be difficult,” or stay in the tension when you want to back down and silence your heart. What I hope you’ll do, is to stay true to who you are. Your beliefs and opinions are equally important to anyone else’s. I pray that you will not forget that and that you will stay strong as the person God made you to be.

One thought on “Keeping the peace

  1. I recall a Glennon Doyle quote (Love Warrior) about not shying away from hard things we have to face in life. I think, “We can do hard things” is her personal mantra and a good one to adopt for living.

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