Let me tell you about the day I got the eye roll of my life. It was the day of my cousin and his fiance’s traditional wedding; let’s call his fiance Abena. I was staying in the same hotel where Abena was, and I don’t know who sent me and my two left legs to go into the room where she was getting ready.
Actually I know, but that’s besides the point. We had some history in the past, and some added drama that happened a couple weeks prior. Needless to say, we weren’t exactly on each other’s favorites lists. The moment I walked into the room and greeted her, the eye roll Abena gave me sent me to an imaginary grave and back to life to confirm it was really happening, and then back to the grave again. She then followed by murmuring something under her breath. I literally wanted to evaporate into the great unknown, but in reality I was still there and Abena’s friends were in the room too staring me down. I can only imagine what she had told her friends about me. I mean I knew Abena was beefing me, but I didn’t know it was that serious. That was enough for me to react negatively. After I managed to survive what seemed like five hours of embarrassment in that room but was really only five minutes, you want to guess how I responded?
That night, I was so salty eh, I just wanted to go back home and skip the wedding altogether. But as I had already spent my dollars on flight and hotel, I humbled myself, went to bed, and woke up refreshed. The following day at the wedding reception, I did all I possibly could, as I would do for a good friend. I sorted the drinks, served the elders because you know there are always those older folks in a Nigerian wedding that are too important to get up and get their food and drink themselves. Why would they? A whole chief so so and so. So I became a food server and of course, a money packer, and a money changer. Most importantly though, I had fun. I danced and smiled and rejoiced with Abena because it was her wedding, and she deserved to have happy people around her.
At the end of the night, it was as though Abena had forgotten all about the beef, and she was genuinely grateful to me for helping out. I’d like to think that the way I chose to respond was a catalyst in ending our beef and the springboard for a better relationship. I had made effort to be at peace with her and it worked. Even if it didn’t work, it was a good seed planted that didn’t cost me anything. Matter of fact, it would have cost me more energy to respond with a negative attitude, and nobody got time for that. With time our relationship has become a beautiful one, though we live in different countries. She has become a sister to me, and we truly enjoy each other’s company whenever we get together. Very easily, I could have missed out on a good relationship with her and now with her kids.
I’m sure we’ve all seen beautiful relationships that have such great potential crumble due to unforgiveness or conflicts that can easily be resolved if we let down our egos and make an effort. When I have conflict in a relationship, I think long term and use these five tips to evaluate the situation.
- Could it be me? If so, I make amends.
- Can I forgive irrespective of whether the other party is seeking forgiveness? If so, I will keep my guards up and maintain a surface-level relationship. Time will heal the wounds and prove if they’ve changed.
- When you consider the big picture, is this disagreement really worth fighting over? Can we resolve it amicably?
- Call this extreme, but if this person died today, would I miss them? Would I have regrets? Would this conflict then seem irrelevant?
- As much as is within my control, have I made every effort to be at peace with the other party? I am not saying you should turn into a mumu. If it is absurd to keep trying, then wait. Time has a way of working things out.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
I fear I sometimes oversimplify things. Let me know your thoughts on this.