Wednesday, September 10, 2014

3 Mindful Tips on Dealing with Conflict

If you've lived life for any length, you are aware that obstacles come, often taking us by surprise and typically resulting in some sort of conflict. What we are offended by and how we respond in conflict reveals volumes about us. Practicing yoga and meditation has certainly influenced my response to being offended...I've become more flexible..
 So here are 3 mindful tips to help you deal with conflict and hopefully become more graceful:

1. Why Am I Offended?--A simple answer to a simple question: EGO! Perhaps rightfully so, we typically feel disrespected somehow. Our image may have been threatened or our imperfection revealed, often our status was not recognized or our world order was disrupted (this happens when my kids make a mess of the house!). Intrinsically we want authority over our dominion and don't particularly like to share. We expect others to conform to our ideals or expectations. The unconscious self-talk says, "I'm right and they are wrong" or "THIS IS WRONG". Yes we can be big toddlers. There is certainly times and places to be offended, however, often the best way to deal with conflict is not to be offended in the first place!

2. Discovering the Emotional Lesson--I am a believer that there is an emotional lesson behind conflict. Family is the best teacher for this. Growing up in a family with frequent conflict and now raising a family of my own (fortunately with much less conflict), I have learned many emotional lessons such as:
When my child is struggling to learn a lesson, I need to be more patient.
When my mom barks orders forgetting I'm an adult, I need to practice child-like submission.
When my husband is distant, I need to allow him space.
Understanding that I choose to be hurt by these instances, or choose to grow from these instances has been liberating to me. A side benefit is that I experience less conflict.

3. Assume the Best--Perception becomes reality. We certainly want others to assume our best intentions, especially when we blew it. My husband has often reminded me of this, which has been some of the best advice I have ever received. Assuming the best in others will bring out the best in you, them and the entire situation. This is different than denial or being a door mat; this is sprinkling grace onto the world by giving the benefit of doubt.

Using these mindful strategies has helped me grow in gracefulness with others. Conflict is a matter of our judgement, we have the opportunity to look at the world and see the the "wrong" of others or decide to look within and determine what emotional lesson God has in store for me. Jesus reminds us on judging, Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." The conflict in your life, is truly a reflection of you.

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