Confrontation is Costly


Ishani Singh

I’ve always liked to think of myself as strong. I’ve never been one to back down from a fight, even though I’m the kind of person you take one look at and usually don’t give a second thought about. And because of this, it’s really easy for my voice to get lost in a crowd. I usually have to work much harder to be heard. I guess between all of that fighting to be heard, I tend to lose sight of what I’m fighting for.

Sometimes I see myself arguing about the dumbest things — full on screaming, kicking and yelling. Things like “I can eat faster than you” or “I bet I get less sleep than you every night.” I do it for the satisfaction of being right. It’s a pride thing more than anything else. If I know I’m right about something, I have to make sure everyone knows it.

It isn’t always about being right, though. Oftentimes what people say or think about me hurts deeply. I feel like I owe it to myself to fight back. If I don’t protect myself, who will?

Over the years, I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty nasty rumors. My sister would always tell me, “Don’t engage. Be the bigger person,” but engaging was like this itch: I physically couldn’t help myself. I would literally obsess over tracking the perpetrator of these rumors and bringing them to justice, which in my mind meant an ugly confrontation.

I used to think calling someone out on their nonsense made me the bigger person, like I was doing everyone a favor by exposing them. It has taken me a long time, but I finally realized that, in the long run, it’s just not worth it.

I never want to advocate for not standing up for yourself. But so many people let petty words or actions consume them. I’m talking about things like, “She said this behind my back. He called me this name.” I know if I allowed myself, I could literally spend hours mulling over this stuff. At one point, though, we have to learn to let certain things go.

We spend all this time arguing or confronting to protect our prides but ultimately, what are we protecting it from? I refuse to waste any more time or energy dwelling over and confronting someone I believe has wronged me. There are always going to be ignorant or uneducated people in this world. They are always going to talk, and quite often we’re not going to like what they say. We can’t control that. What we can control, though, is whether or not we listen.

In regards to every ignorant person you’ve had to waste your valuable time or energy on, remember this. You’re not their parent. You’re not accountable for them in any way. It surely isn’t your responsibility to right their wrongs, which we sometimes hope to achieve in these confrontations with them. If they want to keep spouting out imbecilic rubbish, let them. But these confrontations tend to make us say things we don’t mean: nasty, horrible things. We’ve now suddenly stooped to their level.

Nothing you say or do will change them, but don’t let it change you. Don’t let it make you crude. Don’t let it make you something we both know you’re better than.

I’m sure this all comes across as some sort of morally superior lecture. But let me be completely candid in saying, I still struggle with every single thing I’ve preached about so far. Letting go of confrontation is like letting go of oxygen for me. I hate being the bigger person sometimes, especially when I know the other person deserves worse than my forgiveness. But I have to force myself to look at the bigger picture. It’s going to take a lot of getting used to, but I genuinely believe it will make me an even better and stronger person.