some thoughts on confrontation

As I go about my day that giant ball of fuzz patters behind me.
Our 13 month old German Shepherd has been loved since we bought him home as a surprise for Christmas last year. 
This week, now that my schedule is clearer, I’ve intended to take him to the beach.
I used to take him to the dog beach almost every day.
Salt water and fresh air was good for the both of us, and the best way to start the day.
And then I had a confrontation.
From someone who didn’t understand that he is a puppy and posed no threat, and felt frightened at his boisterousness. I completely understood, but I retreated.
The confrontation was aggressive and although it was resolved, I was unnerved, and it unsettled me. 
I stopped taking him to the beach out of fear of another confrontation. 
When I did go, I kept him on his leash, worried about how he’d be perceived, how I’d be perceived.
And we’ve missed out. He’s missed out on socialising and learning manners from other dogs.
I’ve been prevented from an activity that grounds me, and is good for my soul.

Today though, I took him again. 
We let him off his leash and let him run, and he was able to play with two smaller dogs who’s owners were delightful. 
And I have resolved to just go. Regardless of the risk of confrontation.
Because as uncomfortable as it can be, confrontation can actually be a really good thing.
Yes, it’s hostile, yes we’re in opposition – but that opens the floor for honest conversation.

And I would much prefer that than the alternative; the passive-aggressive, avoidance-dancing,  game-playing. And when I began to look at it like this, actually I am a big fan of confrontation.
I would much prefer to be confronted, than resented.
I would much prefer to clear the air, than wonder if I did something wrong. 
Being hit with truth that hurts, is much better than sugar-coated fakery.

I think we just have to walk confident.
There will always be someone who finds you uncomfortable, or scary, or responds in a way that is aggressive or unkind, or even plays the passive aggressive games. 
Deal with the conflict when it arises, gracefully. Let our egos be confronted. And then keep walking. Go at it again, and go again tomorrow.

Lets not let confrontation rattle us so much that it prevents us from going where we want to go, or being who we are. 
See ya at the beach with my big scary dog.


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