Tension-filled, awkward situations have become the story of my life these past 4-5 years. I’ve learned to embrace them and learn from them. I think families, in particular, do everything that they can to avoid awkward situations. Either by….choosing not to show up when someone else does, withdrawing from the family, or my personal favorite, sweeping the issues under the rug and doing everything possible to avoid it altogether. This, however, does not mean feelings are unfelt. Most likely, there’s that stiff feeling in the air that everyone feels and few acknowledge.
For me, I observed that if I just welcome this uneasy feeling, embrace it – then I can control it. I can control how it affects me and the way it makes me feel. I had to come to this, I believe, since I am usually the cause of the ‘awkward’ situations that I’ve grown so accustomed to. This is not limited to just my families. I have seen people in my life, as a group and as separate individuals, take the roller coaster ride of unforgiveness, tolerance, acceptance, and then eventually, love. It is not my duty to determine whether they are where I think they ‘should be’, although that is sometimes difficult.
Sometimes, there’s ‘good tension’. This usually comes during the acceptance stage. Maybe there’s a reason they’ve had to become accepting…..a work situation, a holiday such as Christmas, they figured ‘it’s time’, or maybe they’ve determined, “it’s for the greater good”.
Bad tension can be a little more intimidating. This might happen when two people have to be in the same room when they’d prefer not to be. Maybe this is still in the unforgiveness stage which is the hardest- glances and stares that could kill; tension you could slice with a knife. Or the ‘tolerance’ stage – where tension is definitely heated, glances might still be there, but there’s an overriding ‘let’s just get through this’ agreement in the room. This could also take place in a work environment, a family get-together, a court room, or maybe a school function for the kids.
Either way, everyone involved in the situation has an opportunity to grow as a person. I think the reason why people have a hard time with ‘tension’ is because it requires compromise and sometimes, the dreaded aspect of ‘humility’. Humility is somehow thought of as ‘defeated’. Therefore, a righteous attitude is developed. “Why should I have to deal with this? Why should I have to humble myself for this person? They deserve what they’ve chosen….I’m just going to take care of me.” So, I guess there’s also another aspect which needs to be mentioned: Grace. Grace travels outside of karma. Showing grace to someone who the world thinks ‘doesn’t deserve it’, is one of the most precious forms of communicating love I have ever known.
Who in your life could you show a little grace to? When is the next ‘tension-filled’ moment you expect between you and your family, co-workers, or friends? How can you embrace the situation so that you feel comfortable in your own skin, and therefore affect the room with your positive approach? Are you the person in the room that’s causing the tension? What do you need to change in your mind so that you can free yourself of that burden?