Let’s talk conflict.
How did your challenges go? Are you feeling excited and encouraged? Discouraged and disappointed? Other?
Are you learning from the books you are reading or from your mind experiments?
Want another challenge?
Imagine someone says something really mean to you and you stand up to them well. You feel confident. You didn’t stop their behavior and you remind yourself that they are responsible for their feelings and actions, and you are responsible for your own feelings and actions. You know that it is up to you to heal your hurts, so they stay in the past and don’t affect your future. You can get help talking through your hurts and getting ideas to heal them. What we have found is that when you are working with conflict, often the current conflict triggers a past conflict and sometimes we over react. We are reacting as if the past pain or hurt is happening right now. We know it is not happening right now, but it feels like it is. Go back to your past and find where it hurts. When did you first feel that feeling? Where in your body do you feel it? Breathe into the pain. Embrace the pain rather than avoid the hurt and let the feelings out. Don’t avoid the pain or stuff the pain down deep. It doesn’t work that way- they come out when you least expect it, and you won’t like carrying around that kind of baggage.
Heal yourself and feel the pain. What you might find is that you will have more empathy in the future with people who are angry and aggressive. Anger tends to be easier to express than the hurt that is underneath. I feel more manly when I am expressing anger than when I feel hurt. That is a common cop-out. Another thing to consider is that people who have trouble with anger have trouble expressing their unmet needs. You could prompt them with the question, “What do you need right now?”
Other people say they have an anger problem but they are using anger to control people. That is a separate issue.
That is not an anger problem but a control problem. They do not know how to get their needs met directly and believe they must manipulate people to get their needs met. Can you hear my empathy? I feel sad for them. Try not to judge them… Most of the time, they have no idea what they are doing and are not bad people. My job is to help them understand something clearly at last, if I am their counselor and they request help. Their anger is not a project for you. It is not your job to fix them. People do not respond well to that.
So, you are contacting your own feelings. Keep doing that and you will have the ability to manage more situations in life.
Don’t spew the feelings onto those around you. The feelings are not the problem. You are allowed to feel hurt, angry etc. “I feel angry” is much easier to hear than being called names or having someone use cuss words.
Say, “I felt___ when___.” I felt hurt when you said______. We call that an I statement, and it helps you identify your own feelings instead of the behavior of the other person.
It helps you realize that at the end of the day, we cannot force others to do the right thing. We can heal our pain, though. We can express ourselves and our truth.
Sometimes, those are the necessary conflicts. Some people don’t want us to speak up. Some people want to keep us down and under their control. Speaking my truth challenges their control and they try to shut me up. Nope, not going to be shut up.
Having said that, there are situations where the other person has so much more power that it is not strategic to speak the truth at once. Teachers, coaches, principals, police etc. have significantly more power in certain situations and the strategy shifts a little bit. I suggest you tell the truth, in a way that works for all involved, if possible. If that is not possible, take some time to think it through before you choose a course of action. Be strategic and planful.
There was a lot in there. To review- I statements are you saying how you feel. Hopefully when you say that you feel angry, your face and tone of voice match the words. That is different from spewing feelings with cuss words or name calling. That is not acceptable.
To review, you have the responsibility to heal your wounds, your pain, so that it stays in the past. Breathe into the pain, feel the feelings, and allow them to teach you their lesson and then release them. That is your practice- to be at peace with yourself.