The Perpetual Vagabond

Exploring the world near and far, mostly on foot.

The Swifts, Conflict, Decision Making, and Following My Dreams

Last night I went to watch the swifts in Portland, who every September on their fall migration roost in the chimney of Chapman School in NW Portland. Watching the swifts is one of my favorite fall activities in this city, as hundreds of people come out with their families and friends and have picnic dinners on the steeply sloped hill, while watching thousands of birds swirl into the chimney at sunset. It’s a beautiful community event and I try to go see it at least a few times during the season.

But, last night turned out to be more than just a nice night of watching the beauty of nature and the strength of community. I learned something about myself that took me by surprise and has left me a bit unsure of where to go next. It came about during a conversation about past relationships, in which I said to my friend, “we broke up because we fought too much…although I have never fought with anyone else I’ve dated…” and then it hit me; I haven’t fought with ANYONE else since we broke up, not boyfriends, not friends, not bosses, not my mother, not anyone. Suddenly I was slapped in the face with the realization that for the past 4 years I have been avoiding conflict at all costs.

I knew that I had changed quite a bit since the summer of 2008, and I often liked my new amicable self, but I also had slowing been losing my path, unable to make decisions, developing patterns of self isolation and becoming even more flighty than before. I had many potential explanations for my behavior; my most important long-term relationship had ended, I was in graduate school, the economic recession was making opportunity sparse, and I was dealing with issues of self worth and confidence. All normal things that happen in life, but for 4 years I had been trying to address these issues so that my life could be better and I could maybe discover some idea of how to live my dreams, but nothing ever worked.

So over the last 4 years I have looked at everything in this quest for clarity; my jobs, my living situations, my diet, my hobbies, my friends, my spirituality, everything. I have sought out therapy, Naturopaths, energy work, new friends, new adventures, new jobs and homes, but still nothing brought me to a place that felt right. It was like I forgot who I was and I was now just trying on different lives to see if they fit. I developed an inability to make real decisions instead opting for whatever presented itself to me in the moment. But, it never occurred to me that most of this might be the result of developing a pervasive avoidance of conflict.

Now I think it is reasonable to avoid unnecessary conflict, but when you avoid conflict at all costs you become willing to give up just about everything in order to keep the peace. You give up your hopes, desires, and the things that are most important to you. You isolate yourself from any situation that might evoke deep emotions. And you find ways to justify people’s bad behavior so as not to have to confront it. Avoiding conflict makes you begin to think that being nice is more important than being authentic.

Over the years I have started to feel successful in my interpersonal life because people began to perceive me as nice and pleasant to be around. I no longer got comments that I was “opinionated” and “bitchy”. People would talk about how kind and diplomatic I was. Which are all great things to be and it felt good to be this way, but it has all been at the expense of pursing my passions and dreams. I have not found a balance; I just swung from one extreme to the other.

And now I can see so clearly how it all started and it had nothing to do with my ex boyfriend that I did all the fighting with (it just occurred around the same time we broke up). It was during my second year serving in AmeriCorps, where I worked as an environmental educator in the mountains of Idaho. For the first three months everything was great, I loved my coworkers, my job and the town. As a group we worked well together and had a great dynamic. We did however avoid any real conflict which left things stewing under the surface, unaddressed. Then, just after winter break everything changed; the group finally let what was simmering come out and conflict erupted into an all out battle. And as an opinionated, stubborn, process oriented person I met it head on with dire consequences. I became the group’s scapegoat for all conflict; everything was my fault, which it sometimes was, but definitely not always.

For months every time the group had an issue I would be placed in the central point of blame and criticized for anything I said or did. It was horrible and I didn’t know what to do to fix it. I was in a constant state of anxiety and defensiveness. It wasn’t until I came down with a fortunate (yes I said fortunate) case of food-poisoning in which I was out of commission for a whole week and the group (in my absence) continued to have conflict and therefore had to acknowledge that maybe it wasn’t always my fault. A few of my coworkers decided to stand up for me and bring the issue of how I was being treated to the group. So, after months of dealing with conflict by making me the scapegoat, we finally had to address the real issues that were plaguing our group and I was finally allowed to move on with my life without constant harassment and negativity.

Unfortunately by this point, I had already completely shut down and must have subconsciously vowed never to do anything that would put me in that position again. I turned inward, began to avoid groups, and quickly lost my ability to make decisions. I became paralyzed with anxiety over doing anything that might upset someone or make someone think I was being contrary. I stopped speaking up or asking for what I wanted. And unfortunately, I was never able to make the connection that my sudden change in personality and behavior came from this very difficult experience and the resulting subconscious coping strategies.

And I now realize that my coping strategies have consumed my life. Being unable to make decisions, I stared to create predictable patterns that make my decisions for me. I go to the same restaurants, order the same foods, do the same things with the same people on a regular basis, wear the same clothes and generally leave the rest up to chance. I have learned to always be ok with whatever anyone else chooses, I no longer am a picky eater, I reserve my opinions for groups of people I know agree with me (and I can always see the opposition’s side and understand why they feel the way they do), I avoid people who I know have strong beliefs and tend to get worked up over them, and I spend more and more time alone.

I even recently decided that I wanted to live alone (even though I have a great, affordable house, with great roommates) because I feel like I’m always having to compromise, never acknowledging though that I never ask for what I want, never being willing to address my concerns or feelings with the people I live with. I would rather move out than discuss something that might not be pleasant. I’d rather run away than make things work.

So, that brings me to today. This whole realization just came crashing down in a torrent of insight and clarity, but now I don’t know what to do with it. Seeking out conflict doesn’t seem like the answer, but I clearly need to face my fear and maybe learn about strategies for effective conflict resolution instead of conflict avoidance. I know I don’t want to go through the rest of my life not authentically living with purpose because I am too afraid of being criticized or attacked for my choices. I want to have the courage to follow my dreams even if it may involve some unpleasantness. And I want to find a balance between being kind and diplomatic and being strong and living with conviction.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even know what I want anymore because it has just been easier to go with the flow and let things happen, than to risk being confronted for my choices. The problem is that this is incredibly uninspiring and leaves me feeling lost and confused most of the time as well as dependent on the spontaneity of others to keep my life interesting and fulfilled. And it makes my relationships unbalanced and inauthentic and leaves me feeling isolated from those I care about.

So, I guess my lesson is that sometimes going and watching the swifts is just a nice way to pass the time, but sometimes watching animals live out their purpose in life makes us question our own and helps us better understand our true nature. Fear is an amazingly powerful thing that can bury us under its weight if we don’t keep it in check. If the swifts were afraid of coming home to roost because of the peregrine falcons that prey on them each season, then the whole ecosystem would collapse. The swifts don’t avoid their journey because of the battle that awaits them at that chimney, they show up every year without fail and remind us that the journey is hard, but we have to go on it anyway.







67 responses to “The Swifts, Conflict, Decision Making, and Following My Dreams”

  1. David Krancher Avatar

    Fine essay, Lauriel. Sometimes it’s “I don’t know” that’s the basis for wisdom. Zen says so, anyway. I’d say this essay does you great service in finding the most skillful way ahead and the courage it takes to be so honest does, too. All the best.

    1. The Perpetual Vagabond Avatar

      Thank you. I like the “I don’t know” approach (It’s my mantra I think) and I also recognize that understanding what gets in our way is the first step to moving past it. So, it feels good to have a little clarity on the journey into the unknown 🙂

  2. Anthropogen Avatar

    But it seems the swifts do go with the flow…

  3. Anthropogen Avatar

    But it seems the swifts do go with the flow…

    1. The Perpetual Vagabond Avatar

      There is a difference between going with the flow out of fear and going with the flow to immerse yourself in life…it’s the intention and reason behind what you do…there is no right way or wrong way, but you have to find the way that works for you.

      1. Anthropogen Avatar

        But aren’t some kinds of fear a reality one often faces when immersing in life?

      2. The Perpetual Vagabond Avatar

        Of course fear is normal, but how you respond to that fear is what will effect your quality of life.

      3. Lydia Bess Avatar

        Very helpful response and thanks so much for deciding to share your essay with you. It resonated with me because I, too, have been “going with the flow” your essay has me assessing the why of it. Thanks again!

  4. Les Petits Pas de Juls Avatar

    Now that you’ve realized that, you truly need to find balance; always easier said than done, I know. But, as you saw that you went from one extreme to the other, you know now that to go forward, you need to rethink what you want for yourself. Not to the point of getting self-centered and selfish, but enough that you don’t do things by complying with something that is not you. Fear of the future or of conflicts has to be overcome; I hate conflicts too and will do my best to avoid them if I can, but never at the cost of erasing myself from my goal. Besides, people will mostly aknowledge your strength of mind if you know how to express your point of view without being agressive.
    All is a question of balance. I’m looking for it too and don’t have answers. But I see that lots of thought has been done and it will take you somewhere where you feel better.

    1. The Perpetual Vagabond Avatar

      I agree completely! It’s all about balance.

  5. hormigaculona Avatar

    Buen enfoque del tema. El equilibrio es primordial en la función del hombre sobre la naturaleza.

    Good approach to the topic. The equilibrium is central to the function of man over nature.

  6. Kris H. Avatar
    Kris H.

    Brilliant! This made me think and reflect on things in my own life as well. Such honesty. We all need more of that.

  7. Jaime Shine Avatar

    Isn’t it amazing how a regular occurrence can trigger such honest self-reflection? The same thing happened to me a couple of years ago, and I made a major change to make myself happier. It’s so easy to fall into a rut or find yourself doing something that is having a negative effect on your life. Kudos for recognizing your avoidance to conflict at all costs and resolving to change, however difficult that may be. Good luck on your journey!

  8. CherylSalvador Avatar

    Wow, great read.. It made me realize something. Maybe we’re a little bit similar, I’m avoiding conflict too and reading your post just made me realize it.. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Meenakshi Khorana Avatar

    Your post made me think about things in my own life… Great post , especially last stanza… May be this was the thing i was looking for from past so many days…. Its really strange how things in others lives relates to our own….. Thanks for sharing this post.

  10. yournotmonalisa Avatar

    I feel like I do the same thing, after reading your post I think that I have been doing that my whole life 🙂 its time for a change! Great post!

  11. Read Stuff With Me! Avatar

    Beautiful reflections…I loved reading it and it made me realize certain things about life. Thank you for writing this!

  12. helenamallett Avatar

    Beautiful blog, photos and honesty … thank you for sharing.

  13. The Soaring Eagle Avatar

    I like your conclusion about fear. Although it’s a natural emotion, and serves a purpose, but as you said, we ought to keep it in check. It’s interesting that our reactions to a fear from a lion, and a fear from a bad boss, are the same! Our bodies suffer the exact same way. While the first makes us move and run, the second may create serious health and mental problems, since it does not have an outlet, like the first.

    Good stuff!


    The Soaring Eagle

    The Soaring Eagle: (poetry)
    The Sound of Wisdom: (wisdom 🙂
    The Wealth Maker: (investing)

  14. andasfortoday Avatar

    Really honest reflective post, thank you and good luck, be brave 🙂

  15. Mountain Gypsy Avatar

    Great post, I loved reading it. I think you may have already conquered the worst by sorting it out. Now it’s just a matter of taking the baby steps to move in the direction of who you are, want to be. For me ( being much like you explain here ) I find what works best is to remind myself to pick my battles. I choose what is most important to fight for, fear or not and the rest I let go. Once I learned that, I felt who I am. Moved closer to who I wanted to be.
    Thank you so much for a beautiful and honest post. I wish you the best.

  16. renderuntocaesar Avatar

    Congratulations on making it to freshly pressed. It takes courage to acknowledge circumstances and express yourself the way you did. I come from a culture that ensteems girls and women who do not voice their opinions and shy away from any conflict both real and percieved. Your article is truly touching.

  17. Islamthuhdude Avatar

    I like how honest and sincere this blog is and having going through a similar experience am starting to realise that moderacy -meaning being moderate or balanced – is a skill we learn as we grow and experience…

  18. Carolina Avatar

    Congratulations for many things: for having such powerful insights, for being humble and honest enough to truly observe your own life and relationships and try to figure things out and for sharing such intimate conclusions on the internet (in a beautifully written post)!
    I’ve always been the conflict avoider, so I can relate a little to your situation, specially to your phrase “So over the last 4 years I have looked at everything in this quest for clarity; my jobs, my living situations, my diet, my hobbies, my friends, my spirituality, everything.” Sometimes I also have this overwhelming wish to change everything, at once.
    Today is my last day at my traditional, 9-to-5 job. A rather good, well paying job; but lifeless and filled with bureocracy. After years of researching and planning, I’m finally heading out to start my own business. Many things have changed in my life, and many more are still to change. I feel anxious yet calm, unsure yet certain, emotionally exhausted yet filled with renewed energy.
    A few things have helped along the way. The internet was one of them: blogs with posts like yours, and of other people that question their beliefs and decide to change their lives (i.e. Zen Habits, among many others). The other was my fantastically pacient, supporting and believing boyfriend. And the last, and I guess the most decisive (even though the others were so important) was myself: the courage and habilty to search deep inside, to look our inner monsters in the eye, to observe and understand (and accept and forgive) the past, to take action and be humble to seek help when needed; this is, I believe, what made the difference.
    Anyway, sorry for the long comment… What I really want to say to you is: I wish you all the best on this quest of your for “clarity”! And I guess it might be a little frustating to read this, but you’ve already reached very far on this path that so many people don’t ever begin to walk through. =)

    1. The Perpetual Vagabond Avatar

      Way to go taking that leap from the security of the job into following another more fulfilling path! Once you jump into the unknown it really is incredible what you find. Thank you for all of your kind words and I wish you the best!

  19. nadya Avatar

    I really love your post. I also experience the same thing, it’s good to listen how you can learn from the situation. Keep writing, it really touches my heart!

  20. segmation Avatar

    Love your blog and especially your awesome digital pictures.

  21. Nina Shadi Avatar

    I can relate so strongly to this post!! The paragraph that starts out, “And I now realize that my coping strategies have consumed my life. Being unable to make decisions, I stared to create predictable patterns that make my decisions for me. …..” is exactly how I’ve been feeling and living. It’s so comforting to read words that have meaning in my own life, especially when at times it seems I am the only one feeling that way. I started my blog for similar reasons: I was shut down, avoiding being authentic and ope because I was too afraid and wouldn’t allow myself to “go there”. Of course, this was the result of many heartbreaks, and I subconsciously went in the direction of mundane life patterns that I could control and which reduced my anxiety and opportunity for emotions. However, all of this significantly hurt me as I found that I was not satisfied with life, I wasn’t being myself, I also struggled to make decisions, and I wasn’t able to truly be close to others because I couldn’t be open. I started my blog to force myself to be open, to be authentic, and the really “feel”. Here’s my first post if you’re interested:

    Thank you for writing this post. It was wonderful. So many of us are in a similar place. When we can opening talk about these things, we can change them. Thank you again: ) I look forward to many more great posts!

    ~ Nina

  22. Aichaa Avatar

    I learnt this thing from a movie: “Differentiate between your needs and your concern for others”. One shouldn’t become selfish ofcourse but not even become selfless. World gonna eat you away.

  23. Mad Queen Linda Avatar
    Mad Queen Linda

    I hope being Fresh Pressed gives you a lift; you certainly deserve the honor for clear and honest writing. Authentic, indeed. You know that you are no longer the person you were before the AmeriCorp incident, and you will never be quite that person again. That may be very, very painful for you to accept, but time and your life have gone on, and you are now someone else. This is an enormous realization to integrate into your self and I hope you give it all the time necessary to fully understand it. Be gentle with yourself and don’t beat yourself up over what you did to cope. Sometimes looking for a way out or a way to somewhere pushes the answer farther away. Dreams change, needs change, interests change. Let your new direction find you. You’ll know it when you see it, and you’ll find your true self there. I wish you a path with stardust.

    1. The Perpetual Vagabond Avatar

      Thank you. That is very well stated!

  24. Whirlwind of emotions Avatar

    What a beautiful post! Reading it made me realise that this is how I have been for the past 3 years too. Avoiding making and maintaining any new, meaningful relationships and connections with people, going with the flow, avoiding conflict, up to a point I let others make decisions for me – one as big as moving to a new country and living alone. Thank you for your lovely words and for making me realise – this has to end. We have to be able to speak up and say what we want to, even if it means being labeled opinionated and bitchy. Life is too short and too long to be held down by labels and what others define you as – we need to go through life happy and able to resolve things, not avoid them, when they come up. I agree with Mountain Gypsy – recently learnt to pick my battles and see what is actually worth fighting for and taking a stand for. The rest doesn’t matter. I hope you find your way soon and can look at conflicts head on and say ‘Bring it on’ instead of trying to avoid it! Conflicts make life interesting!! 🙂

    Congratulations on being FP’d!

  25. Mrs. P Avatar
    Mrs. P

    You seem to have hit on a point that has affected quite a few others in a similar way. I too had a fear of confrontation which brought me to a breaking point when I was associated with someone who spent a lot of time being confrontational. Because I waited until I snapped my solution was complete to completely withdraw and isolate myself which was actually quite therapeutic at the time but not good in terms of a long term solution.

    I gradually overcame this by selectively expressing disagreement or opposition. First starting off with what I considered safe people and minor issues. As my confidence returned I could tackle more difficult disagreements and now I can handle pretty much anything, even people who are generally considered hard to get along with. The key in each situation was to apply the more diplomatic side with the disagreeing side. People tend to be more responsive when you can discuss differences rather than blasting them with drama or anger which often will result in getting their own knee jerk response.

    It is no fun being a mouse but neither is being a tiger. You will need to find your own personal middle ground. You will know it when you get there. Good luck in your efforts.

  26. iRuniBreathe Avatar

    It sounds like you had a “swift” opening to a part of you you’ve kept hidden. Fear is an easy reason to hide, but avoiding our true self is not authentic. Nor do we have to create conflict to be authentic.
    I so appreciate what you’ve had to say here and sometimes just acknowledging this is the hardest step to take. Loved the parallels of the swifts/falcons with our own choices in life. We don’t turn around (or stop) if we don’t like something.
    What’s the worst that could happen if you made a change?

  27. originaltitle Avatar

    I can so relate to this. I’ve avoided conflict, I’ve avoided going against the grain in any way shape or form for most of my life. I’d have random bouts of courage where I’d actually stand up for myself or draw attention to myself, but for the most part, I’m an observer. I’ve also recently had life-altering realizations that, “Hey! I’ve got to live the life I want to live. Some people won’t be proud of me, some people won’t like it, but I’ll be proud, and I’ll be glad to be alive.” That’s what it’s all about really. I’ve been so concerned with pleasing others I forgot to be me, to do what I love. Now I’m doing it and some people are like, wait, what? What are you doing with your life? You were so driven and now you want to be a…writer? Ha! But I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

    That whole monologue was my way of saying, I’ve been reading your post all day and finally had a second to comment on it. Great work, congratulations on getting your life back and doing it your way, conflict or no conflict! And congratulations on Freshly Pressed! I admire you and I say GO YOU!

    Also, I was a part of Teach for America which is a part of AmeriCorps. I’d love to hear more about your particular experience with AmeriCorps if you’d ever like to share 🙂

  28. Matt Avatar

    What a fantastic commentary on the power of all consuming fear. You may well have inspired my next blog post, maybe even on coping with fear & facing conflicts (both internal & external) thank you. 🙂

  29. memoricprism Avatar

    Reblogged this on memoricprism and commented:
    I wish I could have worded my feelings of anxiety as well as she did.

  30. memoricprism Avatar

    Oh my golly gosh! You’ve worded my entire high school career and more. I actually had no idea when my “indecisiveness” and watching myself get hurt by friends, family, and myself began and how I even came to tolerate it. The only thing I could have related my experiences to before hand was from the “Great Gatsby”:

    “A man as generous as that is trying not to create enemies.” (Paraphrased).

    And so I ambled through my life, was accepted with many scholarships to college, was told I was not “capable” or good enough. Ambled again, with crushed confidence. Watched myself have friends shove food down my throat because they thought it was “funny”. I just painfully lived my life knowing if I had created more of a voice for myself things would be different.

    And I finally did after a few months and suddenly things seem right in the world. God (I’m religious, I apologize if you are not) seems to be steering me and I’m the most comfortable I’ve been in years.

  31. danceintheline Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this. Your insight is inspiring. I think there are certain challenges to overcome at different times in our lives. Good luck to you on this journey.

  32. njapf Avatar

    I love this post. I hope you find your authentic self and the delicate balance you seek *notional hug for strength*

  33. sil86as2 Avatar

    Beautifully written post. Life is rarely easy, but we are all here to learn many lessons, and I think nature is one of the greatest teachers. We can pick our way carefully through it, like we are walking on eggshells, or we can stride through it. Either way we will no doubt still inflict some damage on some smaller life form or sensitive soul, but at least we will be living, and it seems better to live with courage rather than submit to fear of criticism or failure.

  34. sil86as2 Avatar

    Reblogged this on gottopickapocketortwo and commented:
    Beautiful and inspiring post.

  35. bettermebetterhumanity Avatar

    I very much enjoyed reading this post. I don’t mean to spam your comments with a link, but I think you might enjoy watching this TED Talk:

    I won’t go into too much detail about what it’s about, but the speaker touches on a lot of the same points you’ve brought up here. Great job with this post, it’s really good.

  36. bettermebetterhumanity Avatar

    Reblogged this on A Better Me, A Better Humanity and commented:
    I came across this blog and found it to be super interesting. She makes a very good point. We can’t be afraid to move forward, to keep going. No matter how terrifying the future might seem sometimes, we have to take a risk and jump. We have to hope that we’ll be fine on the way down and land on our feet. And, if we don’t end up landing on our feet, we figure out how to get back, learn from it and move on.

  37. Washington, DC Avatar

    Wonderful so many elements to this great story!

  38. databug Avatar

    It’s very interesting that I came across this post at a critical time in my life, with the same problems about constant conflict with someone. I’ve been thinking about what I should do next, if I should give up this destructive relationship that always leaves me feeling horrible, or if I should keep being optimistic, despite my anger and sadness, like I’ve been doing 75% of the time. Someone told me I should do whatever makes me happy. I’m happy to be alone. But what if I’m happy in many aspects in this relationship?

    By reading this post, it makes me feel that I’m not alone. For now, I’ll be in recluse, reflecting upon my next move without letting excess time pass by. Thank you for posting this.

    1. The Perpetual Vagabond Avatar

      Destructive relationships effect us in so many terrible ways and I would always recommend getting out of them. Even if you love the person it doesn’t mean you need to be with them. A little good is not worth a whole lot of bad. It’s not easy, but I wish you the best as you figure out what to do!

  39. TTTFanSarah Avatar

    Wow. I don’t think you could have described me any better if you had tried. Your post is really making me take a look at my life right now, because that’s exactly where I’m at. I’m lost and confused. And extremely scared of conflict. I’m to the point I don’t even want to pick up the phone to make a simple call. The only thing that has made me want to start following my dreams again has been becoming a fan of the music group The Texas Tenors. They’ve inspired me like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. You should check them out if you get the chance!

  40. plainlygabby Avatar

    Thanks, I’ve been trying to say this to myself but I just couldn’t clearly put it into words.

  41. […] read a post today by The Perpetual Vagabond that felt like it was written just for me (and about 50 other people apparently).  She speaks of […]

  42. Lloyd Lofthouse Avatar

    Sooner or later, I think most of us face a moment similar to this one. I faced that emotional moment after the divorce from my first wife in 1979, and it reminds me of the poem “The Face in the Glass” by Dale Wimbrow (1895 – 1954). The following link leads to that poem (for anyone that is interested).

  43. harulawordsthatserve Avatar

    Wow, what a post. I’m literally a bit stunned, not only because you write so honestly and well, and wrap it beautifully with the start and finish of the swift analogy, but this reflection could not come at a more important time for me. I don’t have an answer I’m afraid, not yet, but be sure you’re not the only one looking for balance. There is much truth in how uninspiring it is to sacrifice all for the maintenance of the status quo but it’s an easy trap to fall in to and I’m at the point where I think I might have to risk letting the pendulum swing back even a little too far the other way, away from ‘people pleasing niceness’, before I find my centre again. Then again, maybe the pendulum will just keep on swinging. Thanks again for genuine wisdom beautifully put.

  44. Vincent Borgese Avatar

    Thanks for sharing your doubts and fears. I thinks it’s just part of maturing, and finding that balance between standing up for what you believe in and becoming more aware of the frailties of others. You’ll pick and choose your battles, hopefully, with opponents well-armed. Life is a balance. Congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed.”

  45. mirrormon Avatar

    Alot of it sounded like me talking….ofcourse when people you’ve held close hurt you things definitely go wrong inside you…. but you ll have to take it light on you…dont be hard on yourself…. Its a great quality to avoid conflicts…but yes ofcourse not to the point where we let go of our nature and our belief system… Do Not confront people….But stick to your beliefs, and if anyone comes into its way…. gather the COURAGE to authoritatively tell them that them and you are different, based on the beliefs…you can stick to yours, and i’ll stick to mine….
    and then keep that courage with you…. with courage comes alot of hope, bravery and you start following your beliefs and you start converging to who you truly are….keep this courage and do not let it go!… because we are social animals at the end of the day…we are meant to be paired….avoidance wont help, and for how long….
    I hope we all follow our heart and let the fear go 🙂
    Goodluck to you and me and to others of our kind….

  46. srucara Avatar

    Reblogged this on Commentaries on Life.

  47. Marusa Avatar

    “..people began to perceive me as nice and pleasant to be around. I no longer got comments that I was “opinionated” and “bitchy”. People would talk about how kind and diplomatic I was. Which are all great things to be and it felt good to be this way, but it has all been at the expense of pursing my passions and dreams. I have not found a balance; I just swung from one extreme to the other.”

    wow it’s like reading about me, that’s exactly what I feel right now. I became more easygoing through the past year, which is definitely a good thing, but sometimes I feel I lost a part of myself on the way. I also avoid conflicts and don’t make decisions – I let other make it for me. I began to think it’s better to adjust than to take the lead. I am not so sure about my passions anymore and that is such a shame! I will try to find a balance. Wish you the same! Thank you for this so much. 🙂

  48. divyaakella Avatar

    Dear.. Its an amazing blog.. I really liked the way you narrated. I could actually related myself a lot with you. Especially, we cant take the critisim of our dear ones and the only solution that I find apt is to remain quite. Just because – I cant take my dear one pointing at me or not understanding me! Moreover, Giving an explanation to our dear ones?!!?!?.
    I still face this problem manytimes, I know being silent or being diplomatic cant be solution for some situations. But I just hope others can find my feelings / answers within my silence.

  49. On Being “Freshly Pressed” | The Perpetual Vagabond Avatar

    […] week when I decided to publish my Essay, The Swifts, Conflict, Decision Making and Following My Dreams, it was with trepidation. It was clearly quite personal and I wasn’t entirely sure I was […]

  50. tbutterly Avatar

    Hey really liked your post and congrats on being “freshly pressed”, its what we all as bloggers aspire to. I as has id say everyone who commented on your post has either been going through the same as you or something similar. We have to find something we love to do and stick with it.

  51. travelgardeneat Avatar

    Wonderfully written post, one that makes a person reflect — thank you! ~ Kat

  52. wildtrekker Avatar

    I can so relate to your essay on conflict. Being an environmental activist, it seems like all there is in that field is conflict. And it’s more difficult for a woman to be respected for having an adverse opinion than a man, re: some of the great names women are called. I think many of us have been taught to avoid conflict, that conflict is bad. And we all want to be liked. But as you said, it is a terrible thing to give up being authentic for being liked. Women are bitches if they ruffle feathers, men are aggressive and interesting individualists. We have to deal with this dualistic nature of the world and still find a way to speak our truth. And it is not easy. Especially when put in a situation as you were, a scapegoat for all that was wrong in that situation. This is human nature on it’s lowest, most corrupt, unthinking level, find someone or something to blame for our ills. Make it simple, find a scapegoat. We are in the midst of a political election where we can see the basest evidence our tendencies in that direction. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to live honestly in your own shoes, to avoid conflict where it makes no sense, but to take a stand when it means something to your heart and soul.

  53. […] So…in reference back to my earlier post, Fear, and in particular the fear of living on my own terms as expressed so eloquently by  the perpetual vagabond in the following quote, The problem is that this is incredibly uninspiring and leaves me feeling lost and confused most of t… […]

  54. rblend Avatar

    Reblogged this on Confidently Going Forward and commented:
    Beautiful illustration of life sneaking up on you when you least expect it!

  55. queenmaryland Avatar

    Great for you, I really would like to have an exeprience like this…. Watching the sky and realize something still obscure in my life…. Im waiting this moment… And your post make me hopeful that one day that will happen to me…( Sorry for my terrible English, in italian)

  56. […] This article seriously hit home with both Christina and I […]

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