This week's practice is something you already know and have heard hundreds of times. The difficulty is that though you may hear it constantly, your understanding of it may be quite surface. When you hear people say, "The person you have the most conflict with is your best teacher," you will agree. Most people do. But how is that informing your practice?
Have you reached the point where you see conflict and difficult people as the key to your growth or do you still see these things as obstacles? When you tell stories of conflict does your retelling paint you as innocent and describe the other person as completely in the wrong?
Inner Wisdom Meditation
Whenever you tell a story where you are innocent and the other person is a persecutor, a warning bell should go off. Yes, there are times in cases of bigotry, abuse, physical violence, rape, incest, and really profound traumas that there is a very real persecutor and the blame falls entirely on them and not you. This post isn’t about victim blaming. This is about non-traumatic events. When it’s normal conflict, you share responsibility for what happens.
The more you work with the Inner Wisdom meditation laid out in Week 17, you will naturally see your piece in the conflicts of your life. You will slowly become more aware about why you see someone as difficult when so many other people don’t. You will slowly become more aware of what you own in the more difficult situations you find yourself in.
This process isn’t easy and it’s difficult stuff. It's not easy to see difficult people and situations as training tools. It can also be quite hard to drop a personal narrative where you portray yourself as constantly right and the people you have conflict with as constantly wrong.
Sometimes being right is the same as being wrong
When you tell a story to yourself or other people where you are totally right and the other person is totally in the wrong, a warning bell should go off. That warning says loudly, “I’m not owning my issues.” The need to be constantly in the right and to make the other person wrong in order to feel okay about difficult situations is a large road block for most people. Being honest and working through the issues so they don’t keep happening again and again makes sense. It’s the sharing the “blame” that trips people up. It’s hard to let go of being right.
Even in my own life, I will often tend to default to the “I am right, they are wrong” version of conflicts. The difference now is that the moment I speak the words, that bell goes off. I then have to make myself work through the events in a way where I own my piece of puzzle. I don’t necessarily want to do it. I make myself do it so I can use it to grow and learn the underlying lesson that is always there. When I own my stuff, I become better with each conflict. When I make the other person wrong, there is no opportunity for self-improvement. When I make the other person wrong, I am destined to stay stuck with no way to move forward.
Growing each time
As you embrace each difficult person or situation, you are training yourself to want to be better more than you want to be right. Take some time as you do your daily review and think through your conflicts. Think about the people you have a strong aversion to and the stronger conflicts you are currently involved in. Share your piece of the responsibility and ask yourself the important questions so you can grow. Use the conflict to make yourself better.
Let go of your need to be right.
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