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Conflict Resolution Tips and Blog

Are You In Touch With The Soul of Conflict in Your Work?

Coming off of an incredible week of interviews and interacting with so many of you in The Soul of Conflict Tele-Summit, I experienced a huge crash. It had been a time of taking in almost an overload of information that confirmed much and shifted even more. There is a newness to my mindset when it comes to my work and a big part of what I am experiencing is gratitude and a sense of satisfaction that so many of us are moving in the same direction.

But I did spend much of yesterday in a place of deep sadness that I later realized was the surfacing of unresolved conflict in me that extends to my work. Why do I do the work that I do? Why do you? I have heard it said that…

We are often attracted to the work that we do by a particular need within us.

Often, I have heard people express the desire to help others who have had a particular hurt that they themselves have had. Other popular reasons I am sure we each have heard are… “I want to keep people from making the same mistake I did” or “I’m doing this to stop things like this from happening to anybody else.” Both of which indicate that many of us do the work that we do because of something uncomfortable, unpleasant or just plain bad that happened in our life.

Certainly, the tremendous amount of conflict that existed in my extended family between my dad’s five sisters, sometimes my mom or dad and some of us cousins turned every family gathering (of which there were hundreds in my lifetime) into a war of hateful, nasty words, hurtful gossip, accusations and threats. It would make sense then that I would want to do the work of helping people resolve conflict. If you look at your work in the world, I suspect that you can make the connection between your childhood, teen-life or early adult experiences and how you extend yourself in service these days.

But what the summit did was allow me to dig deep into the question of whether or not I have been living my life and doing the work from the place of equating things that have happened to me with experiencing things that have happened. Stay with me here.

What I recognize about The Soul of Conflict is that if I am truly dealing with the experience then I am working it all through. That means identifying, surfacing, looking at and then doing the work of healing those old wounds left by the first part of the experience (the incident, the harm). If I label it as something that happened to me, I can convince myself that I have left it in the past without acknowledging the wound it has left within me.

To see the full experience through means acknowledging the effect it has had within me and working to feel, release and make the changes necessary to end its affect. As I reflect upon how many of us in conflict resolution work are sometimes the worst at conflict resolution in our lives, I also wonder how many of us as therapists, teachers, parents would admit that we are less than our best when it comes to using the tools of our work in our own lives, particularly during conflict.

Now is not the time for untruths. If we look into The Soul of Conflict in our lives we will find what we have left behind that needs attending to.

Award winning Author, Speaker and Top Business Coach, Pamela Slim speaks to this in this short and powerful clip from her Soul of Conflict Summit interview.

https://vimeo.com/203164412/27d65b5166

I hope you will watch it and then sign up for The Soul of Conflict Challenge where we get to the work of beginning to Heal Old Wounds.

Sign up here… http://soulofconflictsummit.com/challenge.

inner-conflict

Inner Conflict 3 Ways To Resolve It

“You’re a conflict resolution specialist. I know you help people resolve conflicts with other people but what do I do if the conflict is inside me?”

This was the desperate message I received from a friend in the midst of a genuine struggle with himself and lifelong issues that were surfacing once again in his life. He caught me right as I was about to do my workout in the small window I had allotted for it and I am faithful to what I call “hitting the floor” at home. But how could I not respond right there in the moment to a friend who was obviously in pain and wanting to be heard and helped?

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“Okay,” I responded in my head. “But he’s not going to like it.” No quick fix.

A series of James Baldwin quotes ran through my head as I gathered my thoughts on how to answer his question.
 

“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” – James Baldwin

 
 
 
1. LOVE YOURSELF

I write knowing in all earnest that throwing those words around is almost cliché by now. In a world that judges everything about us, it takes a tremendous amount of something that most of us have trouble obtaining… to honestly full out love yourself. I know whatever conflict exists inside of you will always loom larger in the dark. Shining the night light of love on it allows you to see just how big or small it really is.

No matter how bad things are, if you know what you love about yourself and continue to have faith in those things, you can start to find your way out of your inner conflict.

One tip: Start A List. What do you like/love about you? What do you do well? What are your strengths? And do not compare yourself to anyone else. Focus on one thing on your list each day and Bask in, Believe in, Live and Celebrate it!
 

“Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

 
2. FACE IT

Face the issues that are causing the conflict. What is your role in it and what feelings come up when you think about your role in it? I watched a beautiful interview with Oprah and a man named Shaka Senghor who served 19 years in prison for second degree murder. That is a heavy load to live with if one is ready to face the truth about the decisions one has made in their life.

He talked about the inner conflicts he struggled with as he faced what he had done and the effects it had on him and those connected to the man he murdered. Feelings of guilt, shame, sadness, grief, unworthiness, regret, anger and confusion almost overwhelmed him as he sat and allowed himself to face them by feeling every ounce of them. He used them to connect with the essence of who he is, a man with feelings. He allowed them to be the fuel for change. This is something that each of us need to do if we are to resolve our inner conflicts.

I encourage us all to feel our feelings deeply and not run and escape to our favorite “-ing” activity… like shopping, sleeping, drinking, arguing, blaming, hooking up, eating (mine); you know what yours is.
 

“To accept one’s past – one’s history is not the same thing
as drowning in it. It is learning how
to use it.”
– James Baldwin

 
3. ACCEPT PAST MISTAKES

Accept whatever you have done in the past and whatever you continue to do in the present, but don’t drown in it.

How can you use it to propel yourself forward? What have you learned that can help you resolve your inner conflicts?

I always say that awareness is the first step, now make one of these three things your next one.

racism-lynne-maureen-hurdle

Racism and Those Three Fatal Words

“I’m going to speak my mind. If they have the right to tell me all the things I’m doing wrong then I have the right to do the same to them!”
 
Long pause from me.
 
Certainly, any of us who are raising and/or regularly interacting with teenagers have heard these words or something similar. 14 about to be 15 year olds try on this sense of bravado at least once when challenged by an authority figure in their lives. Intellectually I know this, but as a Black mother, the long pause on my part is indicative of a reaction that is about to come from someplace other than my head.
 
I was raised by a Black mom who like many other Black moms at the time would have Shut That Conversation Down! “You don’t talk back to adults, you will not be disrespectful to any adult and you most certainly will not Act the Fool in front of White folk!” While this cultural stronghold is innate in me, this is not the reason for my long pause.
 
As a woman whose journey inside herself has included examining the cultural norms of my racial and ethnic identity, I’ve visited the cultural logic and necessity for this popular refrain. In my desire to examine who I have become and who I really am as a woman, but in particular as a parent…
 
 

I’ve looked at the intent and meaning of the parenting cultural norms that shaped me and found that my culture is expandable enough to fit the Black mom that I am choosing to be.

 
 
So when that familiar refrain rises up in me and threatens to take the breath out of me, I acknowledge the space that it came from, breathe it out and put it to the side. Though it takes a minute, that is not the reason for my long pause.
 
racism-lynne-maureen-hurdleMy oldest son went from elementary through high school without much incident. He had his own academic struggles and year of personal upset but he rolled with the punches and bounced back without feeling the need to vent to anyone but his dad and I. When it comes to what others think of him, he is his grandfather, my Dad. He is unapologetic about the love and pride he has for himself and nothing changes that for him. He therefore sees no need to respond to any shade anyone throws at him.
 
My 14 about to be 15 year old son came to us as a baby fully aware of every nuance of human behavior. He could sit quietly observing everyone in the room for hours. As a toddler, he made it very clear from his own expressions that he was not always certain why we were in charge. He was perfectly convinced that he was the one that knew himself best and that we, though loving were not necessarily best suited to run the show. As a teenager, he still lives his life with the intention to be true to who he is every day. He wears his heart on his sleeve and takes note of any raised eyebrow, disgusted sigh, tone of voice or sarcastic remark.
 
Being shut down from my childhood through teen years left me unable as an adult to speak up against those who had no regard for my feelings. So when I hear these words “I’m going to speak my mind. If they have the right to tell me all the things I’m doing wrong then I have the right to do the same to them,” my heart speaks, “Yes that’s right, PUSH BACK! Adults can’t disregard your thoughts and feelings and then demand that you ALWAYS respect theirs. You have great conflict resolution skills and you know how to use them!”
 
And then BLACK MOM FEAR SCREAMS!!!! “You can’t let him do that. In a predominantly White institution he will be labeled as a trouble-maker. He will be written up, tracked, labeled, dismissed, given up on. He will be thrown into the pile of black boys who just don’t give a damn, who have parents who cannot “control” them.”
 
And the war inside me begins.
 
However, it is such an important part of who he is and a powerful way to walk in the world. But what if he encounters the wrong police officer and pushes back? But NO… what a great trait to have when he encounters a rejection in the business world and pushes back.
 
 

How do I encourage and fully develop an asset in my son that shows up as a deficit to the eyes of a world dominated by institutions built on inherent racism?

 
 
Yes, this is all going on inside of me and THIS is the reason for the long pause.
 
I decide that he must speak up, own his part in this conflict and then be clear about the behavior on their part that requires him to push back. “I will go with you for support, but you should speak.” “No Mom. I won’t go because what I know is passion will be heard as disrespect.”
 
And then those three fatal words. It always is… “Sigh.”
 
That dreadful sigh that I have heard too many times for too many decades from too many Black boys who have been made to realize that this is how too many people in their everyday lives see them.
 
What conversations are you having about Race in your life?
 
Lynne Maureen Hurdle is committed to having conversations on race and is authoring her first book on Parenting and Culture.

inner-conflict

3 Life-Giving Strategies for Addressing Inner Conflict

A week ago I finished an exhilarating and life-giving branding challenge. I poured my heart in to the assignments, finding new ways to express the why and how of living my purpose and giving voice to the mission of the work that I do in the world. I willingly struggled to post my completed assignments on the Facebook page of The Brand Story Challenge Group. I stripped and laid myself bare each day and then basked in the after-glow of visions and dreams of my future business endeavors.

And then something happened…

The challenge ended. I found myself sick and exhausted and out of any ideas for what to do next to move myself forward. I was confused.

What happened? What do I do now? How do I move forward? What am I even doing? Am I honestly doing what I love? Why after such great optimism and effort do I feel so lost and so stupid? Ever been there?

I’ll Have What She’s Having

In a world of celebrity envy, prosperity gospels, make all your dreams come true in six months webinars, 21 days to your best body EVER and endless fast-fixes to the complex, multi-faceted problems that cause inner conflict in our lives, it’s easy to feel lost and lonely. So many people I know are facing life-changing issues that are creating inner turmoil and sleepless nights. Measuring our success by the unresolved conflicts within ourselves leads to blame, shame and the desire to have someone else’s “perfect life.” But this one life is all we have right now.

Listen

The most valuable skill in any conflict you are engaged in especially with yourself is deep listening. After the challenge, my body was talking to me and trying to teach me something about myself and I needed to listen. Not judge but really listen. My new friend Marilyn Eppolite, an expert in energy and body-based therapies assured me that what was happening to me was natural especially this time of year. It was a renewing of sorts. Taking the time to admit my emotional exhaustion and nurture rather than fight my body was the beginning of deep listening. Answers surface when we let all of who we are have a voice in our life.

Take A Step Back

Whatever consumes us controls us. Refuse to be controlled by what you view as your limitations. The inability to resolve inner conflicts is temporary if we do not allow it to make a permanent impression on us.

Do something with me please. Breathe in, visualize it and literally take a step back, breathe it out, leave it there and walk away. It’s there anytime you want it back.

Practice Being Fully Present

Gary Zukav, a prominent and, I think, thoughtful author says, “we have to feel. Emotional awareness is the first step to spiritual growth.” In other words, being fully present allows us to tune in and actually experience our life rather than the fantasy. Taking in and feeling what is really happening as it is actually and currently happening helps us come to grips with reality and understand that answers will come. After all, if we look back at our previous challenges, we realize that they always have.

Adopting these life-giving strategies changed my week and hey, that’s a great start.
 
 
To learn more about Marilyn Eppolite, visit www.thewisdomwithin.net

To learn more about The Brand Story Challenge, visit www.jenniferkem.com