What happens when we bring our conflict resolution skills into our personal lives?
Over the years, the greatest challenge has been to “walk my talk” with family and friends. I’ve learned my intention is critical to any success: if I attempt to loop someone in the family with the hope of cooling them off instead of genuinely wanting to understand them, inevitably the looping effort fails. If I recognize there’s a real difficulty I must bring my best self forward by putting my ego needs aside and opening my heart. Not easily done when the emotions are strong. But without clarifying my intention I cannot be effective in breaking a new ground of understanding with my family.
My day to day efforts dealing with the irritations that are inevitable in any intimate relationship have been somewhat uneven, but what I do notice is, for example, when I make a “you” statement rather than an “I” statement, it indicates my intention is ill-focused.
Most of all, loving and accepting the people I care most about means continually working within myself to turn judgment into curiosity and to be willing to be vulnerable. I do hate being wrong and apologizing but I almost always feel better after I’ve done it.
A daily meditation practice is a wonderful way to give myself some room to know what is going on with me. I am often surprised by the thoughts that come to my mind when I simply try to follow my breath.
The humility I’ve gained from my personal efforts to understand myself within my family has led to an increased ability to empathize with the difficulties of people who come to my office or our training programs.