The uncomfortable truth is that an understanding and appreciation of the impact of human emotions is required to address the conflicts of the present day.
The comfortable fairy tale is that everywhere human beings are freed from the impact of their emotions by more economic choices, more scientific knowledge, and more opportunities to engage rationally with an ordered world.
The uncomfortable truth is that people very often refuse to change their behavior and walk the hard emotional path from awareness to competency unless a radical catastrophic (either positive or negative) personal or social event occurs to them.
The comfortable fairy tale is that humanity (both individually and collectively) is trending inevitably toward an integrated, united, globalized mindset, less captive to the paradigms, conflicts, and drivers of humanity’s conflict-ridden past.
The uncomfortable truth is that some people don’t want resolution (or closure) to the conflicts they are experiencing, and seek instead to inflict the consequences, process, and results of their personal conflicts on others.
The comfortable fairy tale is that resolution would be easier to get to if only irrational actors ceased acting irrationally through the auspices of more knowledge, more data, but less received, conceived, or perceived wisdom.
The uncomfortable truth is, the more that we think about the very nature of the human beings with whom we are in constant contact (and with whom we are in constant conflict) the better we get at managing, not the conflicts of others, but the reactions in ourselves.
The three areas in which we grow are often overlooked, but as conflicts, and the confusion about why they occur, increases, these areas will become more critical to engage in with mastery:
Intentionality—no more accidents. Yes, it seems exhausting to always be consciously aware of what we say, what we do, what we think, and what we feel. But it’s equally exhausting to experience the results of a lack of intentionality.
Self-awareness—physician heal thyself. Yes, it might be a more entertaining and distracting approach to be filled with the noise of others (and the constant pitch of the world). But healing yourself requires coming to terms with the signal coming from inside yourself.
Hearing—rather than listening to speak. Yes, it requires patience to listen to others with whom we disagree, and with whom we agree. But when we miss a critical conflict message because we didn’t hear it, we will have to be far more patient with the consequences as they roll out in our lives.
As the framing of more and more comfortable fairy tales run up against the wisdom of uncomfortable truths, it becomes imperative for those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear, to become more strategic around these three areas.