Have you ever held the perspective in relationships, where, in spite of something clearly not working, you chose to let go of your position even though you were bothered by it?
You looked only at the bright side of most things instead of focusing on what’s not working?
You forgave people who treated you poorly because you felt it was not intentional, and that they didn’t know better?
You did not make a big deal about stuff because you wanted to keep things simple?
I have been there and done that for years…
That might be all great and optimistic and it probably served you too. And…there is probably something about that on your blindside that you are not conscious of!
I know what has been true for me, is that, when I have chosen these positions in relationships, even though I felt strongly connected to them, I was doing so because, unconsciously, I was avoiding conflict. I didn’t want to rock the boat or be the one to start the fire.
And why was I doing that? Because I was taught that fights and conflicts were unhealthy. It was something we had to stay away from or fix immediately.
As children, we were told to shake hands, hug or kiss and make up quickly when we were in a fight with other children. And, peace was obviously favored over conflict. Who wants to feel anger, resentment, the awkwardness, discomfort in the body, restlessness, the feel of fumes coming out of one’s ears when one can just choose peace and walk away from all of that?
I am curious to hear what your perspective around conflict is? To me it means trouble. It creates stuckness, leaves one with unexpressed emotions, it’s the end! It’s never ending!, it’s messy, like opening a pandora’s box. And, someone creating the conflict is more or less considered a villain, trouble maker and a peace destroyer.
Obviously, holding that perspective made me run as far away from conflict as I could. And, the story I told myself was that, I was going to be the better person, take the high road, be more understanding and keep things simple. But, at the cost of what?
Sure enough, my ego was justified in doing so, as I felt it was the RIGHT thing to do! It was the most acceptable response by society too.
But this had many flipsides. By not choosing a different response, I created more mess for myself. Some relationships were not just getting better even though I had chosen my so called “right” path. Because, I was training people in my life to treat me the same by refusing to choose a different response to their actions.
I was also pushing people away from my life because my relationships were not really deep and authentic. It would not last the test of conflict. It also didn’t have much flavor to it.
Another very interesting consequence was that, I wasn’t present to someone else’s emotions. The moment things were border-lining on what I perceived to be conflict, I would tune out of their emotions, wants or needs to be the better person and skip over things. I would get all logical in order to do the right thing. They didn’t feel seen or heard by me. I listened to the words for sure, but not the need or want expressed through those words.
What I had failed to understand then was that, relationships are built one conversation at a time. The ones we choose, have to stay in even when things get hard and messy. And, relationships deteriorate one conversation at a time, by the conversations we choose to avoid over and over again.
An interesting line I read recently in a book really spoke to me – THE CONVERSATION IS THE RELATIONSHIP!
Often we assume that when we have had one hard conversation, we are done! Everything that needed to be said, was said, and now we can move on. We feel impatient to revisit them again when something crops up! We get impatient when people in our lives invite more conversation.
But it’s never done, because we are constantly evolving and so are the people we are in relationship with. Hence, the relationship is also never constant, it is transforming and evolving too. When we miss out the conversations, we miss out on the relationships.
Conflicts are merely a sign that something new wants to come into the space of the relationship and that the previous equation of the relationship no longer holds true.
Intimacy in a relationship doesn’t get created just like that from just intention. We have to be ready to get dirty and messy. Intimacy gets created when we lay our hearts out on the line, when we speak from our hearts, when we speak of things we never imagined speaking about, when we are not afraid of messing up, through our fights and tears. And then, when our hearts crack open we get to see one another, we get to see our oneness.
That’s where the juice is!