So what if it has taken me a long time to pinpoint the problem I have had with my own work in the conflict resolution field. Over twenty years to be exact. It’s not like I haven’t loved what I do… I have. Although throwing myself in the middle of teenagers fighting after school has been a terrifying, heart stopping sport. Yes sport! It takes skill to come out with all your parts intact. These days I stick to Chai Tea with whipped cream for that extra kick.
I still love giving workshops, talks and trainings on resolving conflicts effectively to a room full of doubters who at the end want you to follow them home to deal with all the conflict starters in their life. Even better is the huge rush I get out of working a group of real and raw teenagers into a positive mantra recitation frenzy! Mantras, you know like “Good, better, best never let it rest till your good gets better and your better gets best”. But there’s always been this nagging question which has plagued me for years. If these techniques work so well, why aren’t we really using them when we get into conflicts?
So what if for years I’ve taught skills to everyone from bus drivers to principals, from adolescents to parents from employees to supervisors from Harlem to Hong Kong, from rural to suburbia and from my living room to my son’s room? Only to hear everyone voice the same complaint. “It’s great when you are in the workshop but when I am in the middle of a heated conflict I forget about all of this and just do what I normally do.” Yell, curse, hit, retreat, interrupt, get the last word or as one honest fourth grader said so beautifully “what happens if you are in a conflict and you just lose your mind?”
Even I in the past have admitted to audiences that when faced with conflict, Ms. Conflict Resolution Expert has had to use a visualization technique in order to remind me to use what I know, rather than do what I feel. I imagine myself embroiled in a loud, vicious argument that spills over into a shoving match in front of a fascinated and vocal NYC subway crowd and then a picture of The Daily News headline complete with photo flashes through my mind. “Top Conflict Resolution Expert wins (hey everyone wants to win) subway WrestleMania battle in three rounds.”
So what’s the problem? That’s what escaped me until I started my own journey of self-improvement from the inside out. Hours spent in stillness and quiet reflection, actually feeling my feelings and learning to release them, analyzing and challenging my mindset about my life. That is when I finally experienced the answer. Why aren’t we using these techniques in real life conflicts? Because in our minds, it’s always been about what other people do in conflicts, but the truth is… it’s about YOU.
That’s what ReSoulYOUtions is all about. Getting a good view of what’s inside of yourself when it comes to conflict. It’s a Soul search because once you discover the genesis of how you view, feel, react and act in conflict situations, you will realize the power to change outcomes lies with YOU. For me it has been such a change for the better that the desire to grow in using my conflict resolution inner and outer skills has compelled me to dig deeper every time conflicts arise. It’s not easy and it’s not quick but it is life changing! If I have to explore every inch of me to get better and better at this… then Soul What?