When I was ten years old, Daddy pulled into a gas station with a single pump in front of a weathered shack. I was walking into a museum when I went inside to look around—all kinds of neat stuff, including the little packets on the counter, free samples of something. I picked up two and stuffed them into my pocket.
In the bathroom at home, I dropped the white wafers into a cup of water, watched them fizz, and left, still wondering what they were for.
Later, my dad explained what Alka- Seltzer was and said I had to go back and pay for them. I couldn’t sleep. I stressed until the moment I faced the gas station owner and confessed what I had done.
That day, I learned that immediate confrontation can be a great stress reliever.
When I’m tempted to run, I force myself to face the situation, not letting the problem grow. I go where I don’t want to go. I talk to the people I don’t want to talk to. Invariably, I either learn that I had a hyperactive imagination and no real problem existed, or I discover solutions. Either way, I know I’ve done what I can. I don’t have to stress.
In conflict, silence is never golden, because stress keeps building until that explosive moment when we say or do something we regret.