“Sure it hurts, but if you love someone, you forgive them.” Blanche
“Somethings you forgive, somethings you never forgive.” Kate”
Recently at Interplayers Theatre, I saw the play Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon. It was an incredible performance that exemplified the topic at hand – conflict.
The story is about Eugene, an adolescent, Jewish boy in 1937. He recalls his memories of living with his parents, aunt, two female cousins, and his brother at a time when he was going through puberty, sexual fantasy, poverty, and living in a crowed home. In this play, Eugene Jerome, played by Nich Witham, gave an over-exaggerated sense (in a fantastic performance) of not being heard and doing what he could to find his place and get his needs met in this family.
This play was a great backdrop for me to expound on how to resolve conflict and the pitfalls of communication. Here are some helpful steps.
Clear with this person on an energetic level.
1. Ground your energy. Here is a video that will teach you to do this. http://bit.ly/wBHJbh
2. You have an aura around you which is part of your energetic self. Imagine pulling your aura in around your body. Pull it in about 6 – 8 inches around you.
3. Focus in your heart and bring your attention out of the top of your head into the heavens.
4. Image the person there with you. At this level, send them love from your heart. You may also imagine sending them golden white Light from your heart.
5. If you can do this without anger or negative feelings, talk with them at this level
6. Come back down, image yourself filling up with golden white Light and release any leftover energy down your grounding cord.
Steps to resolve conflict in person.
1. Write out the situation in your journal and then re-read it the next day. Sometimes it helps to do this a few times, so that you can become clear on what happened and what you want to communicate.
2. Become aware of your own part of the situation, even if you perceive it to be minor in comparison to the other person.
3. If you are angry, look at where you may be feeling hurt or fearful. These emotions are often right under the surface of anger. Feel your feelings and let them go. Journal them over and over if need be.
4. Contact the person you are having conflict with and use clear, direct, honest communication. I suggest you meet in person (not via text or email) because this allows you not only to read the body language, but also to open your heart.
5. Give the other person the chance to communicate their side completely. It is helpful to use the words, “I heard you say,” and repeat back to them what you heard and let them clarify. This helps them to feel heard. You can hear what someone is saying without agreeing with them. It is important that you hear.
6. Once the other person feels heard, share your side. They may not listen well and you may not feel heard. If that is the case use the broken record method. Continue to say the core message again and again, “I hear what you say, and ______.” Yes, that is true, and _______.” Do this until they are able to understand they are not hearing you.
7. Make a request of the person such as “My request is we put this behind us and go on from here,” or “My request is that we continue to meet and talk weekly until we can resolve this.” You can use whatever it is that you desire.
8. Trust your intuition, and use as many of these steps as you would like. If the person is not willing to meet with you or clear the situation with you, then move on and let it go. No longer allow them into your energy field and set healthy boundaries. (I will share more about this in a future video and blog.)
Sometimes people have a hard time clearing conflict because of negative communication patterns. Often these reactions were learned in early childhood as a survival response to a dysfunctional family. In this case they may triangle in other people to take sides, or become passive aggressive and rather than talking with you directly, they will be passive in their aggression in a subversive manner.
One of the books I recommend for healthy communication is Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg
You can find other valuable information at http://candesscampbell.com/books/self-help-toolbox
“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
November 1843, Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Ugly Duckling was published in Copenhagen, Denmark. This amazing fairy tale has been read and re-read by adults and children alike, all over the world.
The story, as you probably know, is about a baby bird raised by a mother duck in a flock of other ducklings. The bird was teased and bullied unmercifully throughout his life, because he looked different and behaved differently. As an adult, the bird sought out and joined a flock of swans finding them to be beautiful birds. Although he expected the same abuse, the swans were open to his joining with them and they accept him. One day this ugly duck saw his reflection in the water and realized he was not an ugly duck at all, but really was a beautiful swan. He found his flock and fit right in. He was transformed.
Common to all of us is the desire to be heard, seen and understood. Many of us can relate to this archetypal story of not fitting in and finding ourselves teased, attacked or excluded. We continued to look for and hoped to find “our people”, our flock or our tribe. In the journey of doing so, we often changed our opinions or beliefs. Sometimes we gave up our voice and became silent, all in an attempt to fit in.
So often I hear someone telling another person what “the truth” is and insist on what they “should” be doing or thinking. Communication becomes about what is right or wrong. Opinions become polarized and those who do not agree with either the loudest voice or the group voice can be intimidated, shamed or alienated.
Over the years, the precious beliefs developed as young people get lost in the mass of voices and one’s self-esteem takes a hit. So often when working with clients, the undercurrent of their situation is a feeling of being unworthy or undeserving. How others have treated them guides their beliefs about themselves.
What would happen if, instead of stating your opinion and telling someone what you think, you asked the person to explain more about what they were saying? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how your relationships change if you went into conversations with the sole purpose of understanding their point of view. How would your posture change if you were there just to receive, to just hear the story?
My focus is on Relationship for the New Year. I challenge you in the month of January, and hopefully throughout the year, to practice “just listening.”
Now, there will be times to share your opinion and have debates of course, and to enjoy the fun and creativity of a dispute, but let’s change it up a bit. Think about a few people in your life that are important to you. Make a conscious choice to have a couple conversations with them where you just “hold the space” for their musings, for their sharing, for how they see the world. Experience them deeply. Look into their eyes and be present to them. Give them the gift of being heard, seen, and understood. Bring them into your fold and see them as the swan they truly are. Allow your loved ones to be transformed by the incredible generosity of your listening.
Candess M. Campbell, PhD is the #1 Best-selling author of 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. She is an international Psychic Medium, Intuitive Consultant, Speaker, and has practiced as a mental health and chemical dependency counselor for over 30 years.