A couple weeks ago, a loved one and I have a disagreement that led to their becoming upset with me. At first it was quite unsettling, as I could feel them not only putting up a wall to keep me at a distance, but I could feel their anger towards me as well.
I felt that I had been misunderstood, and I was hurt by their reaction. I started putting up my own wall and told myself that I wasn’t the one to blame, that they were overreacting. But at the same time, I noticed my energy getting lower and I felt a knot in my stomach- a clear indication that my reaction was coming from my ego and not my heart.
Normally, I don’t catch myself putting up walls or becoming defensive until it’s too late- until I’ve become fairly entrenched in my reaction that is, and created additional tension in the situation that makes the other person feel even more upset. Luckily, in this instance, I caught myself reacting in this way before it was too late. By becoming aware of what I was doing, I was able to stop it and find a different way to react.
I decided to tune into my body to find out where I felt tension. The tension was primarily in my abdominal region (aka sacral chakra), so I took some deep breaths and focused on sending healing energy to that area of my body. Once I began to feel less tension there, I visualized being filled up with love from the Universe. More specifically, I visualized a stream of colorful Light/Love pouring down into me from above, as if from a waterfall. Next, I pictured the other person and visualized light/love streaming from my heart to theirs. Additionally, I imagined “holding” the conflict between us in my hands and visualized it filling with love and healing energy.
What happened within 20 minutes of doing these visualizations was pretty monumental. My loved one approached me to talk about the situation, though they were still upset; (In the past, they may have stewed over it for a few days or maybe longer before approaching me). I simply stayed connected to my heart and listened as they spoke, instead of getting defensive or feeding into the negativity of the situation as I have before in the past. This not only helped the other person speak their truth in a less hostile way, but it helped me to stay in a state of peace and avoid exacerbating the conflict by coming from my ego/lower self.
One of the biggest challenges in our relationships with others is to respond to conflict from a state of peace and love. When somebody we care about puts up a wall, it’s very tempting to respond by putting up a wall of our own. The voice in our head may say, “Well, if he/she is going to be distant, then I’m going to be distant too!” or “Screw them, I don’t need them!”
All too often, we take this route of responding to another’s distance or hostility with our own distance or hostility, adding further tension and conflict to the situation. Much of the time we do this automatically and subconsciously, but sometimes we do it consciously because we feel we have the right to respond in this way.
However, when we respond in this way, we not only further push the other person away or further aggravate their upset, but we cause much greater suffering within ourselves. When a person becomes upset, whether it’s about us or something totally unrelated to us, the worst thing we can do is to become upset ourselves. By reacting to anger with more anger, we only add to the negative energy and give the conflict more power. Further, we lower our own energy, disabling our connection to our heart/spirit. Conflicts of the ego cannot be solved by the ego, though this is what our ego would have us believe. No, conflicts must be resolved by the heart or the higher mind. Only from this space, true healing and resolution become possible.
Soon to come: Responding to Conflicts with Children & Responding to Conflicts with Strangers.