I used to be the peace keeper. You know, the person in the group or family that always solved the problems, calmed the drama, settled the fights, helped to bring people back together, and generally wanted to keep peace no matter what.
The problem with being the peace keeper is that, I often found that in order to keep the peace there had to be a “giving in” or a “sacrifice” along the way. Unfortunately, somehow the person that seemed to be the one required to “give in” or “sacrifice” seemed to be me.
I don’t believe it started out that way, at least I don’t remember it starting out that way, maybe it did. I wasn’t so good at negotiating back then, I was inexperienced and just wanted the drama, arguing and unhappiness around me to stop. So I would throw myself in the middle, volunteer to “make things better” and soothe the wounds so that everyone was happy, at least for the moment. Except, they weren’t really, were they? How could they be with me jumping in the middle of their issues and solving their issues my way?
I see this happen quiet often with young girls even now. One will get tired of all the drama between friends and try to be the savior of all by keeping the peace, running interference, and telling their version of the truth to protect everyone. She becomes the “Dear Abby” of her group, the girl they all come to for advice, and turn to when things in their life fall apart, or when they need a champion for their cause, whatever it might be. Pretty soon they are all spying on old boyfriends, girlfriends and each other in order to make sure each person is honest, and living the life of a soap opera quiet without realizing all the drama they are causing by trying not to cause drama. Oh and then they also become the scape goat for when things backfire and get messy. Then one day (hopefully) they wake up from this nightmare and decide to get off this rollercoaster.
I went through this to a certain extent when I was in high school playing this role. Then one day, I just woke up and decided I didn’t want to live in the soap opera anymore. I stopped relaying messages, stopped giving advice, stopped making it my job to hold everyone else accountable. It’s not my job to police the world and make sure people treat each other the way they should. However, this is nothing compared to what the teenagers and young adults go through now. Now we are all constantly connected with cell phones, Face Book, and all types of social media. The youth trade texts back and forth with one asking the other what they think about something, then that person forwarding the comments to another and another until things get blown out of proportion and of course, the end result is major drama.
The only thing I have to offer is the same advice that my mom and my grandmother gave me a long time ago, “don’t say anything about anyone that you could not say to their face.” That even includes the postings on Face Book and other social media, or texts, if you could not look that person in the eye and say the words then you have no business saying it any other way. Hiding behind technology allows cyber bullying and misplaced courage even from people who would never be considered to be a bully, rude or mean.
Like Thumper’s mom used to tell him, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”
We don’t all have to be positive attitudes and thoughts, pleasant dreams, sunshine or roses, but kindness is never wasted and the effects travel like ripples on the water.
Cherry Coley ©