Three key ways to deal with the onslaught.
This stuff is cumulative. It adds up. Let me tell you. I have been through a lot in these last two years and I am feeling it. The worst two years of my life and I have had some rough ones. Some things have been really hard life events causing inner conflict and others have been difficult conversations caused by interpersonal conflicts.
I have learned many lessons during this time, although far too much of it has been reluctant learning. Yes, that’s right, I can whine and complain with the best of them but ultimately, I have learned that when I do three key things, it is easier to gain wisdom from the conflicts and experiences happening to and around me.
One thing I learned is that I did not know the meaning of taking a true vacation. I have always taken a working vacation, a mix of fun, relaxation, and work, work, work. That is not real-time off, but I sure fooled myself into thinking it was. Working while on vacation in a beautiful and relaxing destination is still working. I am determined to provide myself with opportunities to learn how to vacation. I almost got it right during these last two weeks, but I did sneak some work into the relaxation schedule. So, I am still learning and if this is you too, please join me in allowing yourself to truly vacation when you go.
In the meantime, let’s work on these three key things.
Tune in and get clear
Mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical check-ins on a regular basis are crucial. Don’t ignore, push away or deny any feelings or aches and pains that are coming up. Conflict is here to teach us something about ourselves, something we need to know in order to grow and handle the next conflicts better. When it just keeps coming, learn to stop, take it in on all levels and then ask yourself what is coming up for you and why do you think it is affecting you in this way? Take notes on your responses if you have to because within those answers are some of your lessons.
Step back from the situation whether it be for a few minutes, hours or days or a week, take a breather from it. I know you may be thinking, if I could step away I would, but I can’t. You actually can, but you have to do it with intention. When we take time off from the situation, we can start to see how wrapped up we are in it and begin to peel away the layers of worry vs faith, fear vs inquiry and grieving vs just feeling sad about it. Give yourself the time to look at it and feel it on all levels. Conflicts viewed from only one perspective are often seen from the lens of fear. Widen your lens.
Respond vs React
Ooooh, how I wish this was easy to do in the moment. Even with all my time into the work of conflict resolution, my physiological reactions are quicker than reason. I have to make myself go there and so do you. When you feel yourself reacting, you have to notice it and then reach for some skills. Breathe… bring to mind the potential lessons here and then communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t shut down, be clear about the points you want to make and the feelings you want to share. Be kind to yourself if you pop off before responding. Go back, apologize and try to do it over the skilled way. Afterwards, don’t berate yourself, laugh it off, you’re human.
Conflicts are coming at us at a faster pace and from every direction these days. The world is in trouble and we are feeling the cumulative effects of non-stop disagreements, miscommunication, unhappiness and trauma. We have to be ready to engage in ways that are helpful to ourselves and others without making it worse. That’s a large commitment, but I am asking you to make it. I’m game.