Deep Imprints

Your Workplace is your Ministry

When are you at your best?

woman boxingHave you ever invited people to argue with you?

A trainer once taught me that we all have a fight or flight response – but people tend to lean toward one or the another. When hurt, scared or overwhelmed, people either fight or flee.

The problem is that if we let ourselves get into the adrenal response, we have lost our ability to meet the moment and get the best from it.

The conflict from those moments doesn’t have to push your buttons. You can learn to use tension to propel you forward.

A pastor who spoke this last weekend invited us to read his blog. “Tell me how you don’t agree with me! I’d love to hear from you.”

Facebook’s vice president of marketing, Carolyn Everson, told reports recently: “I love being challenged…when people doubt us, that’s when we’re at our best.”

When people disagree with you, do you feel defensive? When they doubt your ability, do you feel degraded? Does it trigger your adrenal response to fight back, or run away? This verse might help:

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.

You see, you have a perfectly reasonable point of view. However, you are human, and you can only see things from one perspective. God put you on earth where lots of people are available to help you improve. When people disagree with you, they are giving you information you didn’t have before. It really doesn’t matter if they are completely in left field, or right on the money. The exercise of responding to them with dignity and patience will help you learn and grow.

It is hard to stand up and defend what you think with love and respect. But when you do, you will find a new strength.

What do you do when people doubt you?



  1. I have to laugh at this photo because it reminds me of how I was a year or two ago. Being challenged was and is a core fear of mine that drives me to act very strangely on my best days and very badly on my worst days. Back in those dark days, when I heard my husband’s feet on the front steps, I could feel my heart raise up its boxing gloves, and I’d say (sometimes in my mind but a lot of times outloud in my kitchen), “Bring. It.”

    Everything he’d say, I’d take as a challenge. Even–ESPECIALLY–the question, “Why?”

    When it came to challenge (real or imagined) from him, my response was usually fight. I’m getting better at that.

    When it came to my kids the response was flight. I was still struggling with the revelation that you can’t *make* kids do, be or stop anything: do their homework without crying, be potty-trained, stop fighting. So I would run away. I couldn’t get in my car and drive away. Because apparently it’s not “OK” to leave a two-year-old and five-year-old home alone. But I could open a bottle of wine, and mommy was on her way. Physically I was still there, but the part of me that cared about challenge was gone. I used to say, “There’s nothing wrong in my life that a lobotomy wouldn’t fix.”

    The self-administered liquid lobotomy worked for me for a very long time. The amounts never increased, but happy hour got earlier and earlier until one day—ok, a lot of days—it was 7:30am. But ONE day it was 7:30am on a Sunday and I needed a little “hair of the dog” to go to church. Even that wasn’t enough of a red flag to me. Neither was the fact that I was hiding my drinking from my husband by replacing bottles, hiding empties under trash, and outright lying (aka Information Management). Neither was my therapist’s raised eyebrow when I wouldn’t accept a prescription for my anxiety because I wasn’t willing to stop drinking to take it.

    BECAUSE what I was doing was working for me, and I couldn’t risk losing it to try something else. I needed the option of flight. Flight, flight, flight. Reflecting now maybe I preferred that over fight. I was totally willing to duke it out with my man, but maybe I was afraid I’d raise my fists to my kids. Now that I read that sentence, I know that was true, and it makes me feel a little better about becoming an alcoholic mother.

    And that, dear reader, is what I became. I (me!)–became (slowly and intentionally)–an Alcoholic Mother! Ironically, when I was challenged with that stark naked truth, I didn’t fight or flight it because I didn’t care. Because it was working for me.

    By the grace of God and a whole lotta AA, I have been sober for just over a year. I still HATE to be challenged, but I can get past it more quickly primarily because I am actively working every day to remove its status as a fear. My hope is anchored in the belief that someday not too far away it will just be a known-but-minor annoyance. Sometimes I still want to drink and sometimes my nerves are s-c-r-e-a-m-i-n-g. But honestly I’ve picked up enough tools in my meetings that I have more options than fight or flight. I can say, “You might be right.” I can be playful or curious or brave or any other posture of mind besides “right.”

    Right for right’s sake. I just can’t afford it.

    • Kim

      16/08 at

      Angela! This is an excellent post. I am so proud of you! And, congratulations on your sobriety. You are amazingly gifted, my friend.

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