Confrontation is very often associated with aggression such as in a clash of opinions, a heated argument or an armed conflict.
There are vast differences between aggression as a basic and often blind survival mechanism and the art of assertiveness. How could anything be affirmed or asserted if one was deprived of confrontation?
For the sake of this article and its relevance to public speaking, performance, and communication, I’d like to stay away from the common usage and understanding of confrontation for a more revealing exploration of the term.
Confrontation: the invisible context of our existence
Assertion: there isn’t one instant in our lives when the context and power of confrontation is not fully active. Every time you take a breath your entire body confronts the elements necessary to fill your lungs with air. Every time you get into a car you confront all the minute adjustments to get in and start the car. Every time we speak our brain, body, muscles, vision, etc. are confronting various elements in order to deliver sound both on physical, emotional and mental levels. Other examples are blood running through our veins or cells regenerating. Confrontation is the stuff of life.
Life is a motion of energy and that energy to validate itself needs constant confrontation. Gravity is one of the examples. Everything on earth confronts gravity to survive and thrive: a snowflake, a flower blooming, a bird moving its wings, an engine running, my fingers typing, the wind against your face, criticizing a strategy, making love, standing in front of an audience, racing a car, driving your kids to school, firing an employee, hitting a tennis ball, studying for an exam, drawing a picture, cutting wood, giving birth, etc. The list is endless and you will not find one example in “manifested life” outside of the context of confrontation. Even the most profound meditation is allowed through confrontation as our body breathes and navigates through time.
Both aliveness and wellbeing are functions of the art of confrontation. To be alive is to both confront and be receptive to it. The need to be assertive or confrontational comes up all the time yet some people will do almost anything to avoid confrontation. It is one of the superstitions we live with. Confrontation might lead to anger, shame, regret, hurt, etc. Are we afraid of accountability or responsibility? I don’t believe that for a moment, yet I do believe we do not hold confrontation in high regard.
Collectively, we’ve distanced ourselves from the profound art of confrontation, which paradoxically forms the bedrock of confident living, playing, and working. Consider this: when we confront our fears, we ultimately triumph. Whether it’s facing a mess, navigating a difficult situation, challenging a falsehood, addressing failure, exploring possibilities, seizing opportunities, or even standing before an audience or embarking on a new business venture, we embark on a journey of self-realization. Confrontation isn’t just about external conflicts; it’s about embracing a universal context that makes us whole. It’s the path to rediscovering our innate potential.
The art of confrontation:
To confront is to possess the remarkable ability to face challenges without flinching or fleeing. It’s an intimate, inescapable power that allows us to address reality head-on, bringing forth much-needed clarity. This art of confrontation is inherently natural, devoid of aggression or passive aggression. Remarkably, both laughter and joy are steeped in confrontation, essential for their full expression.
When we confront, we immerse ourselves fully, engaging in thoughtful introspection within the confrontation itself, rather than beforehand. This is where the true risk and challenge lie. The capacity to confront isn’t just a personal attribute; it’s a wellspring of attractiveness and charisma, unveiling our character to the world. After all, an unchallenged character remains a mere potential, waiting to be realized.
Self-Discovery through Confrontation:
Knowing oneself necessitates the open confrontation of our inner thoughts and emotions. It’s from this vantage point that we cultivate not only our confidence but also our self-esteem. Often, we associate confrontation solely with interactions involving others. However, I hold a strong belief that if you were to choose to confront those feelings, thoughts, and ideas you’ve been evading until now, your sense of vitality and energy would undergo a remarkable transformation.
The Power of Self-Talk and Externalization:
To aid in this journey of self-discovery, I employ a technique I call “talking to myself.” The act of externalizing our thoughts and emotions through self-dialogue proves to be profoundly therapeutic across all facets of life. This principle finds its roots in the world of acting and art, where individuals unlock their innate capacity to confront by externalizing their inner selves.
As George Bernard Shaw eloquently put it, “Acting is the art of revealing yourself to yourself, raised to the optic of the theater.” In simpler terms, genuine revelation occurs only when we confront our true selves, especially in the public eye. Public expression inadvertently exposes and externalizes what we are willing to confront, providing us with a platform for self-realization.
Life as a Stage of Confrontation:
The world unfolds as a grand stage only when we muster the courage to externalize and confront our desires and needs in life, in our interactions with people, and in the face of challenging situations. It’s essential to acknowledge that political correctness often serves as a means to evade confrontation. Yet, there’s nothing commendable about shrinking away from the vibrant tapestry of existence that we all share. Confronting an audience stands as one of the most formidable challenges, precisely because it forces us to confront dimensions of ourselves that we’ve never encountered before.
Speaking or performing in public acts as a subconscious platform for profound self-revelation, leading to a resurgence of self-knowledge and a profound sense of vitality and confidence.