This week David and I are training a group of community activists. They are courageous and loving people who care about their neighbourhood and want to be instruments for positive change. Last night was the first session. Not everyone knew each other so, as usual, the session began with polite introductions, each person talking about the change so desperately needed and their hope for the Dialogue Road Map to become a community language for healing, restoration and creativity.
Within a short time, it was obvious that one person was taking up all the space. Others were shuffling in their seats, zoning out, making huffing sounds but no one said anything. I carried on with the training and could sense the tension directed towards me for not taking action.
Eventually, an exasperated participant spoke ‘on behalf of others’ to let the person taking up all the space that he should be more considerate. The other person was ‘offended’ and reacted badly.
I asked the group what they would like to do next and some people wanted to ‘move on’ while others said we should address the conflict. We agreed to take a break and see how we felt in 15 minutes.
The group came back together and , with some facilitation, worked through what happened so that we ended up with full resolution. One thing I pointed out was that this was a conflict resolution training and I asked them to remember the first slide in my Powerpoint:
“How much frustration do you choose to sit on before you make a change?”
We had experienced a very clear example of what happens when people sit on their frustration and say nothing until the pressure becomes too great.
So, my questions for the reader is this.
- Are there any areas of your life where you are sitting on frustration?
- How is that affecting you and what do think the likely outcome will be?
- What could you do now to alleviate the pressure?
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