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Personal Growth

Lori Portka on Conflict & Kindness

I felt angry toward my friend.
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I felt angry toward my foe.
I told him not, my wrath did grow.

William Blake

I am extremely conflict-avoidant.

I always thought that on some level, this made me very kind.

Recently, I learned otherwise.

I have a dear friend who is part of the same cooperative art gallery as me. She called me one night with what I (incorrectly) perceived were threatening questions regarding one of the co-op policies and my connection to it. While on the phone with her I felt fear, anger, frustration, and confusion. I denied all of that within me. I was nice and kind.

In the weeks that followed, I stewed with anger every time I thought about our conversation. This is not an experience I have often. I adore my friends, I love this particular friend dearly, and like I said, I am extremely conflict-avoidant. So I pushed the anger down and then was angry at myself for having any lingering anger. Madness!

But I am learning to be true and to honor my feelings. The trouble is I did not honor myself or my friend, in this case. I said nothing. And when I ran into her by accident, and it was nearly impossible for me to pretend to be the way I usually am around her. I was passive aggressive, giving her short answers and little eye contact.

“Are you mad at me?” My beautiful friend asked me with the most concerned voice.

I can still picture the expression on her face. She was me when I was little.

Oh no. Had I become my mother? My mom is super loving and a good mom to me but she does not handle anger directly. When I was younger I was constantly wondering, “Mom, are you mad at me? What did I do wrong?” I found myself trying to “fix” the problem when I didn’t even know what the problem was.

I wish I would have called my friend after we talked on the phone, once I processed my emotions. “I didn’t really love the conversation we had, but I love you. Can we talk?” That would have been kind.

Later that night, after a big lesson learned, I sat in meditation. I poured kindness over myself. It is okay, I am learning. I sent kindness to my mother. She has always loved me with her whole heart and I have always known this to be true.

And I sent kindness to my friend. She is pure light and love. Thank you, sweet friend.

Lori Portka is a full-time artist, doing what she loves, in hope of spreading a little happiness around. She is sweet and compassionate and is learning to say “no” when “yes” does not feel right and accept (and even embrace) the non-optimistic, angry, spitfire part of herself. She travels as much as possible, and loves animals with all her heart. Connect with Lori through her website and etsy.


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May 2011
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