Yesterday we talked about the ‘rewards’ of conflict. For some of us drama can be exciting, it can validate we have something happening in our lives, it gets our juices flowing, our minds reved up, and makes us feel powerful.. So it’s important to identify what we get out of conflict.
Conflict can be a sort of ‘manic defense’. If we are always busy buzzing from one thing to another then there is very little time for self reflection and even less time for intimacy. All this ‘busy’ can be a great defense to intimacy, self realization and feeling. We may race around to avoid uncomfortable feelings. We may stay ‘busy’ and disconnected to hide deep rooted insecurities.
We may stay lost in thought, over schedule, create impossible to do lists, dredge up fears, live in anxiety loops as our minds race, stay stuck projecting about future events, morbidly reflect in past regrets, hide in our phone, numb out in front of the tv, stay consumed at our computer, and avoid eye to eye connections.
All this ‘conflict’ creates a wall between us and those around us. It also blocks us and dampens our ability to connect with self. Our angry state, or state we are stuck in, is fed by all this ‘manic activity’. Many of us will unconsciously stay stuck.
Then we crash exhausted. We may become frustrated, overwhelmed, lonely and all the while think that life is the problem, people are the problem, the demands in our life are the problem. Is this really true?
In fact, we may even display a sense of ‘annoyance’ that our children want our attention, our spouses want our attention, life is calling to us and we are too busy and annoyed to hear the call to intimacy! Yes wouldn’t that be powerful if we heard “mommy mommy” as a call to intimacy and not “daddy daddy” I am here to drive you crazy? The choice is always ours. What if just for today we hear the call of life, as a call to intimacy. What if we attempt to respond to these calls with humor?
Step One: Ask Questions.
When we argue with someone ( literally or just in our minds), feel anxious, obsess over small details or engage in any behavior that disturbs our peace of mind ask some questions like:
What am I getting out of this?
What is my state when I go here?
Do I like this state?
Is this a state I want to nurture?
Have I always reacted this way to conflict?
Is it possible this is my particular brand of ‘reaction’?
Perhaps if this is ‘my brand’ then it’s also ‘my creation’ and therefore something I can change. Sam may cry under stress, Sandy may lash out in anger and Sasha may laugh and use humor. Our reactions are unique to us and therefore created by us. We can decide to react differently if anger, blame, hostility, pouts, emotional withdraw, obsessive thoughts over and over about the ‘issue’ no longer work, then choose differently. More on this in Step Two.
Some example answers may be our conflicting state is familiar. It’s been there for as long as we can remember. Our ego likes to hang onto what is familiar. Our ego is fear based. Our ego is afraid what will happen if we let go of this pattern. There is no job security for the ego if we remember who we are; magnificent creative beings. Therefore, fear is always the root cause, even if we may not identify it right away.
Another example may be; we believe we are a victim. We may think our anxiety, depression or problems are beyond our control. Think of the boy in the wheelchair who used his disability to bring laughter to the world. People are able to overcome obesity, anxiety, depression, anger and all sorts of disorders for one simple reason. They decide to. If we remember how remarkable we are, then we know we have the power to move through this limiting state.
Our mind may ask what’s the payoff to all this work? Why change? Why make this important? Consider this as a possibility. We have uncovered that staying stuck in conflict creates a mental prison that keeps us stuck and blocks off intimacy. Is it possible that working through conflict can give us freedom and deepen our understanding of ourselves and thus others creating a powerful connection?
Some of us may want to hang onto this familiar feeling and that is fine. Being honest with our true motives is an important stage in our development. Remember when we discovered that “I want be thin. I want to eat this cupcake”?
However, if we truly want joy in our loves, deep connections, to evolve emotionally and spiritually then check back for Step Two in this process of conflict to consciousness.
If you choose to do these exercises we would love to hear what experiences you had.