Think about the last time you had a disagreement or were in conflict with someone. Did you engage in a discussion with an open mind or heart, or, was your mind made up, and nothing was going to change it?
If you’re like me, in moments of disagreement or conflict, you probably didn’t stop to think about the state of your mind or heart. You probably just wanted to defend against the other’s words, or defend your position because ‘you were right, they were wrong.’
When I stop defending against, or attacking another’s position, disagreements are no longer all about winning, they’re about finding shared solutions that create opportunities for greater connection with another. And when that connection is with a beloved, it leads to deeper intimacy.
Stop. Breathe. Get Present.
That doesn’t mean the discussion, or argument, will begin on calm and tranquil waters. Sometimes, I get going in a ‘discussion’ and find myself in turbulent waters, stirring the pot and making waves.
When I Stop. Breathe. Get Present. it gives me amoment to ask myself, “What do I want in this moment right now?” Do I want this argument to be my hill to die on, or do I want to use this moment to create clarity, opportunity for closeness, understanding, connection? What am I willing to give up to create that?
To create it I must be willing to give up my position and need to ‘be right’. Often, that moment to Stop. Breathe. Get Present. happens mid-argument when realization hits that the argument isn’t about the broken dish or the lost keys or the fact someone didn’t call when they said they would or didn’t complete a task as promised. In that moment when I realize we’re not fighting about ‘the issue’, we’re arguing about our positions, I know that one of us must Stop. Breathe. Get Present.
It doesn’t matter which one of us, but one of us must do it. Why not me?
It isn’t always easy. The stopping, breathing, getting present. Sometimes, I’d rather just be right.
But being right doesn’t create connection or intimacy. It just adds distance, resentment and hurt to my relationships.
I want all my relationships to be fulfilling. For me and the other. Whether an interaction with a sales clerk whom I deem has made a mistake, or my beloved, I want my part of the conversation to come from a place of respect, compassion and empathy.
I don’t always achieve it, but when I do, I feel better. Stronger. More grounded and content with my path in the world and my way of being on it.
And to do that, I must listen with an open mind and heart so that it is not ‘my way or the highway’ but rather, our way together for mutual benefit where regardless of the discussion, I am not acting from a place where ‘disagreement equals rejection’, but from a place where I know, I don’t need to be right to be happy. I just need to listen with an open heart and mind, stay true to my values and create opportunity for both of us to find value in our relationship because I am honouring all my relations.