Conflict Matters


Successful relationships handle conflict well. Currently, our political arena is giving us a front-row seat into the tension-packed experience of conflict. Everyone has an opinion on how things should be handled. No one is removed from the process, even if they’d like to be. What is easy to notice is the inability of most people to see someone else’s perspective. The old saying “try to walk a mile in their shoes” seems to be thrown completely out the window in the political realm as battle lines are drawn and “enemies” are identified. We hurt, insult, create labels, hate and sever relationships. Is there a better way to handle conflict? Marshall Rosenburg says “The objective of Nonviolent Communication is to establish a relationship based on honesty and empathy. When others trust that our primary commitment is to the quality of the relationship and that we expect this process to fulfill everyone’s needs, then they can trust that our requests are true requests and not camouflaged demands.

While it is not my intention to dive into the craziness of politics, the way many people handle conflict within political discussion does help us realize how we can better handle conflict within our personal lives. How we handle conflict is a key indicator of success and compatibility which is definitely important in our relationships with others in our lives. Imagine if for a moment you improved your conflict resolution skills how would your relationships grow and improve?

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music” – John Milton

It is okay to feel anger and to process anger. When we are speaking the truth/Satya to someone if we are doing it in a non-harming/ahimsa manner, truth and anger cannot belong in the same sentence.  This is why we apply self-empathy, take a breath and then chose how to respond. We have communication choices. Focus on self-empathy, start with your “Self” become aware of your feelings and needs first to gain clarity. Words matter it makes up our emotional DNA that helps develop our thinking and thought patterns. It is when you can sit down next to the person and discuss a conflict that you are ready to communicate when you want to be across the table listen more than you speak.

 

Yoga Sutra 1.30Vyadhi Styana Samsaya Pramada Alasya Avirati Bhrantidarsana Alabdhabhumikatva Anavasthitatvani Cittaviksepah Te Antarayah” From that comes Realization of the individual self and the obstacles are removed. This is often translated as a disease; mental inaction; doubt; carelessness; laziness; inability to withdraw, compose and rest; hallucination; inability to reach, grasp or comprehend the goal; and inability to remain grounded are the obstacles these are distractions to the mind. We are all overscheduled, overworked, thinking about too much. However, this is all by our own choice and under these obstacles, it gets worse. By examining opposites, beliefs, and self-inquiry is an excellent starting point.

 

For me Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally said it best “How we view the world- our worldview- is, in the end, the only thing that decides whether we suffer or find real happiness. It’s extremely important to realize that an entire civilization can be caught up for many years in a mistaken view of the world. For thousands of years, sensible people believed that the world was flat. The courageous, democracy-minded founders of the United States kept human beings as slaves and believed that they were animals, not people. Our culture today has its own massively mistaken ideas of the world, and these cause all hunger, poverty, sickness, and war in the world. If our people’s view of the world is causing pain to others and ourselves, then we must look for a better one, one that works. If it doesn’t work, we cannot simply continue to follow whatever we learned as children, whether it came from parents or schools, churches or governments. True yoga is the search for the worldview that actively works to bring people happiness.

We need to integrate our experiences and have the courage to be ourselves and to allow this individuality even if it scares us because belonging matters. “The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear whole or acceptable, but our wholeness even our wholeheartedness actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the fails.” – Brene Brown During conflict we need to listen there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listening is much more important than talking and yet it is much easier to talk rather than listen. We want to be heard and more importantly, we want to be right. When in the midst of conflict we are thinking about our response more than we are actually listening to what the other person is saying and this is not our best way to start a conflict resolution.  The first step is to listen for identify the root of the problem (content, pattern or relationship rooted)

 

Here are some questions to ponder:

  1. How was conflict handled in the home in which you grew up?
  2. When you were growing up, what were sources of conflict between you and your family of origin?
  3. In what areas of your life do you tend to value your own perspective over the members of your immediate support system?
  4. Often times, the way our parents handled conflict growing up carries over and impacts the way we handle conflict as adults. Is this true in your life and in what ways?
  5. What areas do you need to be more mindful of your own responses where conflict resolution is concerned?

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