I was in a situation where I was feeling attacked, bullied, trapped. It was (to say the least) quite upsetting.
The old me would have run away, refused to face the situation until cornered, and then overreacted, braced for the situation with a chip on my shoulder, spoiling for a fight.
To be sure, I didn't handle it perfectly, but I am amazed by the fact that I had enough self-knowledge to be able to refrain from the desire to retaliate, to just give myself time to process my emotions and to get some objectivity. That took me 4 days. In the meantime I talked out my feelings with people I trust - and asked for prayer support as I went into the lion's den (so to speak) to face the issue head-on.
A friend gave me some really valuable advice not long before my confronting the issue. This person said to not go in from a defensive point of view but with a view to understanding and resolving the problem. An open hand - this friend told me - goes way farther than a clenched fist.
And you know, it went really well. We understood each other, apologies made on both sides, and in another area we agreed to disagree and respect each other's opinion. But the confrontation I so feared didn't happen; everything was civil, and by the end we were even starting to banter back and forth.
Sometimes people look at the word "meekness" and read it as "weakness" - my friend had already learned that this is not the case. And today I learned how mighty meekness can really be. I felt the positive thoughts and the prayers that bolstered my spirit, reminding me to do the right thing for the right reasons, and be true to myself. Meekness is power under control - the picture is of a spirited stallion held in check with just a small bit and bridle. Or - a huge elephant, capable of stampeding, curbing his great strength and being gentle.
When I compare my behavior today to how I would have reacted a little over two years ago, I can't believe it. I felt my feelings (all weekend to be sure) processed them, resisted the temptation (with help) to stick to the facts and the behaviors, talked about my feelings without attacking, owned up to my part in the situation, and voilà!
I am still amazed by how the most distressing of circumstances can be used to help us to grow inside, as long as we remain true to a serene lifestyle of honesty, openness, and willingness.