Growing up involves developing mental processes to navigate, avoid, and resolve conflict and bumps in the road of life. It’s not just about learning to do taxes or buying your own home; growing up is learning to take responsibility, learning to listen to others, and taking appropriate action. At first glance words such as “responsibility” and “appropriate” can ignite a negative taste on the mouth. But growing up also involves the cognitive understanding that taking the “high road” is far less drama and has a better view.
In my experience I’ve come to find that 98% of potential arguments are simply verbal and emotional misunderstandings. Words only go so far to communicate our feelings and desires, and when strong feelings are involved, it’s easy to get caught up and consumed by our emotions. The thing with overwhelming emotions is that they demand our attention. When all of our attention is on one or two powerful feelings, it can seem impossible to see anything else, which creates a lot of room for misunderstandings. While blinded by hate or sadness we miss the words being said, and often more importantly, we miss the intended meaning of the words being said. In arguments we get tunnel vision when we should be looking at the landscape.
Learning to approach conflict from a lookout point instead of a tunnel is the epitome of maturity. It’s not an easy thing to ignore strong emotions in an attempt to see the full view. It can be exceptionally hard because it forces you to confront your own potential faults and misunderstandings. The upside to leaving the tunnel is that views are often colorful and beautiful, and avoiding or working out a conflict is the best kind of relief.