Lucy here: When my husband finally read the book (I didn’t let him read it while I was writing it, nor anyone else in my family for that matter, since I didn’t want feedback that might change the point of view in the book; I wanted it to be entirely mine and they could live with the outcome), he had an observation: women and men think differently, and women, it seems, do not like conflict. I felt like saying: Duh! We hate it. In fact we will go to great lengths to avoid it, but we’ll also beat ourselves up with worry and stress, replaying conversations in our head, ruminating about situations By embodying that stress, bringing it inside, heaping regret upon ourselves, we can hurt our health and happiness. Instead of being direct we act out, withdraw in, and in most cases what would have helped would have to discuss the mutual responsibility, rather than call the friend who’s mad at us and discuss things, even if you agree to disagree (a version of either/or, not a case of both/and. It applies at work, in our extended families, in our romantic relationships. The truth is conflict is there, it’s just under cover. Better to air it and move ahead, pleasantly.
This Key Process: It’s not Either/Or … it’s Both/And! Basically it means: You can choose to both agree and disagree, you can both love the person and be upset. At work when you collaborate you can enjoy the process of building on an idea, accepting and rejecting creative solutions; in fact it’s the push and pull that helps you reach a better solution. At home, where it’s personal, you may be fighting with a loved one and still act loving. As in, “I can both love you and be mad about one thing.”
And of course it also means that it’s possible to be happy and have a good day, even when someone—a friend, a sibling, a spouse--is upset with you or you are upset with someone else. Conflict is okay. In fact it’s part of life. So I was prepared to both like what I wrote and be prepared for family members who didn’t love how they were depicted. And guess what? My hubby liked the book. Now, for my brother, mother, father, friends, and everyone else who may read it and find things they disagree with in these pages, about themselves. I’m prepared. Conflict is okay.