Approaching Conflict with Awareness
Whether we are experiencing conflict within ourselves or with others, it takes great awareness to approach that friction without being reactive.
Often when involved in conflict, we automatically position ourselves from the viewpoint of, I am right, and you are wrong. Driven by this compulsive need, we will do almost anything to prove it. Without realizing, we put up a defensive wall that shuts us down to reality.
As we get caught up in trying to prove something, needing to be right, we can lose sense of our true authentic selves. Our mind takes over, running us in a way that is all consuming. We might even notice as we get further triggered, emotions of anger, frustration and/or irritation arise. In this moment, it’s as if we are swept up in a trance state, stuck in a story, desperate to validate ourselves. The more obsessed we become, the more committed we are to staying attached to the conflict.
In living Open Hearted, we release our need to “be right” during conflict, and shift towards seeking resolution. We use practices that support our desire to shift out of the “spell” as we open our hearts with a greater sense of awareness.
The first step is to recognize when you are getting caught up in a conflict. Your body is usually the first place you’ll feel it. As the tension rises, you’ll experience sensations such as, clenching in your gut, racing heartbeat, or perhaps tightening in your jaw or throat. When you pay attention to the body, you’ll be surprised what you will experience. Along with sensations in your body, your mind will swirl with a stream of reactive thoughts and take a defensive posture. So now your body is reactive, your mind is reactive and look out, the pressure is building.
PAUSE This is one of the foundational practices in living life Open Hearted.
The second you begin to feel the tension build in your body or your mind you intentionally hit the PAUSE Button. Just like on the TV, you hit the PAUSE. This momentarily takes you out of the hypnotic swirl. In this moment you recognize you’re reactive. This is You being AWARE. In this moment, with awareness, take a breath. And then, take another.
With each breath your body begins to slow down. You notice a loosing of the grip, an ease in your shoulders, the stress dissipating as you feel lighter. You are becoming more present as your awareness is expanding. As your mind quiets, you can gain a greater sense of clarity. With clarity comes a greater sense of calm.
Feeling calm, you can now recognize how to best approach the conflict. Free from mental tension, you recognize the possibilities. You are now prepared to approach the situation from a place of kindness, understanding and compassion.