How well are you relationally? Some of the wellness we seek each day comes to us through the interactions we have with the various people in our lives. We try to stay healthy by steering clear of people we don’t mesh well with and seek to get close to people we love and enjoy. But what about those times when the very people we say we love we find we cannot stand to be around or worse yet we hurt them and or get hurt by them? What can we do to manage the stress from relationships that go sideways?
Think about the last time you were in a conflict with someone or experienced hurt in the relationship? Maybe you had a misunderstanding with someone and hurt their feelings or went too far and hurt them physically. Did you say to yourself “serves them right, they had it coming” or did you feel awful? Disagreements, arguments and conflicts can sometimes get us into trouble when with or without intention we act in ways that hurt ourselves or another. Why do we lose control, feel overcome by our emotions and at times even feel good when we hurt those we love? What is really going on when we choose to hurt others?
As we said, our reactions to our hurtful behavior can run the gamut. We can feel justified or shame and at times deep remorse. We may even vow that we will never do it again.
We may find it easy to justify hurting people who we don’t know or who are different that ourselves but what about the pain we cause those we say we love? There’s not a week goes by where we don’t hear on tv or in print the bazaar details of love gone bad. A once happily married couple has come to an end because they have repeatedly criticized and hurt each other. We sit and watch with mixed emotions wondering how something so good could end up so bad. Whether it’s a simple misunderstanding or years of physical and emotional abuse we know it is something we all wonder about regardless of age, color, sex or nationality.
Conflict happens to each of us and will happen again. The only way to understand the times you hurt someone is to begin to see what is really going on. At the core of your hurtful behavior is motivations that are not always obvious. You are not evil intended. You are not a mean person but you do have agendas, expectations and motivations that are driving your behaviors and when push comes to shove you can lose your cool.
Here are six steps you can take to begin to slow down and manage these encounters.
1. Take 100% responsibility for each experience. You are the common denominator in all your conflicts. Take a look at yourself. See what part you can own before you blame and in owning it offer some new understanding or apology.
2. Go looking for what is at risk for you that you are as emotionally invested in the struggle. There are positive intentions all over the place and finding them in yourself and others is like discovering nuggets of gold. They inform you and increase your perspective of what it is that is really going on. They also begin to give you the ability to lower expectations and define options.
3. Some have said the best way to handle conflict is to look for the good, and forgive everything else. Most people are doing the best they can and most spiritual gurus will tell you at the core of all suffering and conflict is ignorance. It they could do better they world do better. Release your judgment and your need to control others.
4. With number 3 in mind seek to release all people to be exactly as they are. Find your ability to be secure, safe, emotionally stable and separate in your own strengths rather than dependent on someone else to change so you can be ok. We often talk in our home about being at CAUSE rather than at the EFFECT of some belief, event or individual.
5. Wake up each day and within the first few minutes seek to focus and intend to love and forgive all you meet as the day unfolds. This obviously might come easier for some than others but is well worth the few minutes. There is rarely a day goes by that even before I roll out of bed I have breathed this prayer that I might be loving and forgiving with all I meet.
6. Keep growing. When you are able to see your motivations, intentions, choices and actions you have a greater capacity to act with love as well as bring a deeper understanding of why people act the way they do. Insight into these motivations can increase your ability to think before you act allowing you to get ahead of the actions which may cause hurtful encounters.
I’m David Ruch at I AM DISCOVERED on a mission to teach people to live happy and on purpose. www.idiscovered.me