When I used to think of conflict, I made the leap that it was synonymous with fighting, anger and cruelty. And in some ways, I was right. Conflict just for the sake of conflict has no winners. It is about directing restless energy, confusion and pain outwards, as if these experiences are nothing more than pests to be squashed, controlled or kicked to the curb. When anger alone guides our conflict, it becomes about changing other people or the world to suit our current desire. This is egotistical and fear based, and it kind of sucks.
But I now see the possibility of conflict as an act of love. It can be about caring enough to forge a new way of being rather than taking the easy road of throwing people away into heaps of dislike. It can be about loving ourselves enough to refuse to bury our own suffering to the point of detachment. But it’s not a quick and easy fix. Conflict based in love is about a genuine desire to see healing happen, and it takes effort and courage.
Conflict as an act of love is about making space for our more vulnerable states like sadness, hurt or fear. We don’t need to hide what’s really going on behind the protective fires of anger. These emotions are truthful, and fully acknowledging them is the first step in finding authentic resolutions, instead of anger fueled conflicts that seek only to keep score.
Now stir up some shit. Loving, kind, and truthful shit.
The worst spirals my brain drags me down are when I believe someone is thinking poorly of me either because of something I did or said. I have full dress rehearsals in my head all day and all night about how I will defend myself against their ire. If I’m alone, and sometimes when I’m not, I will start verbalizing entire one sided conversations as I deflect each of their points about how and why I am totally lame.
But when I come up for air from these episodes of drowning in my own thoughts, it hits me: No one is actually thinking about me. Not really. Perhaps they are thinking about something I did or said, but that’s not really me. Me is not equivalent to one conversation, one mistake or one win. Me is so much more than any one thing I might of said or done, and Me is certainly so much more than how others perceive my words or actions. So, they are actually thinking of themselves and how life, and perhaps my guest appearance in it, is making them feel and think.
No one’s thinking about me, not really. So if they’re not thinking about me, if they are instead reacting and responding to an infinite combination of experiences, innate natures and external nurtures, then it really doesn’t matter what I do in regards to other people. I can do what feels right for me...goodness gracious, banana waffles, this is amazing!
Legit not worrying about what other people think is not the same as dismissing the safety and needs of others. Instead, it’s turning inwards and being really honest with ourselves. It’s about not hiding our true natures behind the busy work of things that don’t really matter like trying to impress others. If we actually stopped worrying about how other people perceive us, then we could get to the good stuff of living an authentic life of love, compassion and kindness.
Working on it.