Most people look at making mistakes and getting into conflict as a bad thing that must be avoided at all costs. In fact, digging deep in to the untapped wisdom in conflict allows us to find the meaning behind the conditioned responses that we’ve come to believe are our true selves in conflict.
How many times have you gotten into a conflict and heard someone else’s words come out of your mouth or found yourself reacting from habit whether you wanted to or not?
Most of the time when this happens, we are a reflection of the people who raised us or who were in some sort of authority over us when we were growing up. Since so few of us had good models in conflict, we learned what was done to us and believed that to be who we are in conflict.
Even when we learn alternative ways of communicating in conflict, many of those skills are questioned or rejected due to culture.
Cultural norms have conditioned us to speak and act in a certain way in order to show “who we really are and prove our allegiance to our culture.” Being accused of acting too American or talking too White or not being a good Asian or being told to Man Up are all ways that culture keeps us in line and often makes us act without questioning. But it is important to question ourselves.
Doing the work to understand the meaning of our actions and words not only leaves room for the possibility that we may not know what we really believe, but also that we may not know the true meaning of other’s words and actions. In both instances, we tend to think that we do, but rarely do we look for greater wisdom about ourselves and our actions. That would require looking within. Society has taught us that looking within and finding meaning behind our words and actions makes our leadership look weak. “Just say it, you’re the boss they don’t have to like it just as long as they get the job done” is a popular refrain in many of the businesses I have worked with.
Skillful and effective communication in conflict in these times requires more of us than that. It requires us to go to the next level well beyond just learning skills. It starts with taking a long hard look at the meaning in our own words and actions.
It is time to ask ourselves 3 deep important questions:
Why did I just say that?
Is that coming from the real me?
How do I know?
Yeah, that last one is a real kicker. Spend some time meditating on these questions the next time you are in conflict and let me know what you come up with. I can tell you that my clients and I have experienced deep revelations with these. I discovered that I am full of conditioned responses and if I want to know who Lynne is in conflict, I have to go underneath the emotions and the habits and cultural norms to get a better understanding. It doesn’t mean that I am disregarding everything about me, but rather that I am learning my inner truth that is completely mine to claim. These times call for conflict resolution skills that stem from deeper wisdom.
It is time to tune in and tap into the wisdom that lies within you and get on the road to becoming the powerful, impactful, influential, skilled, confident leader that you are here to be.