The Corona is getting on my last nerve! I’m thinking it might be a good time to talk about some coping skills for high stress situations. As many of you know, I practice and teach a spiritually based form of conflict resolution that I learned early in my spiritual walk. (I will go into more depth on the conflict resolution method in future posts.) For now, let’s talk about the inner conflicts we are all experiencing and ways to handle our conflicts so we can live happier, calmer lives even under an unusual amount of stress.
Often, we think of a conflict as being an experience with another person, such as a fight with a friend or anger conjured up by the actions of someone else. While these are certainly examples of conflict, when we pull back to look at the idea of conflict from a spiritual perspective with the aim of healing, the first step is to acknowledge that the place we are experiencing the conflict is inside ourselves. Once we acknowledge that our conflict (the way we are responding to the stressor) exists inside ourselves, it is easier to see that the real issue is not really about something outside us. Yes, an event takes place out there, but the conflict is inside. When we take responsibility for our own inner conflict, we have all the power we need to heal it.
For example, when we look at the pandemic, we see that the conflicts we are experiencing are not being caused by anger at a person outside of us and it would not make much sense to spend a lot of time being angry at the virus, itself, would it? Instead, what we’re all dealing with is fear, frustration, grief, economic insecurity, confusion, anger, sadness, etc. This is a lot to cope with all at once! It also creates a kind of inner conflict that is quite different from fighting with another person. The answer is still the same… By taking responsibility for our own internal experiences, we acknowledge our inner conflict and go to work healing it. When we pick up our personal power In this way, we can heal and live happier lives!
So, we are all experiencing the same pandemic, but our experiences might be quite different. In other words, my inner conflicts are probably different from your inner conflicts. In terms of the virus, you may have heard it said this way, “We’re all in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.” Same virus, different experiences.
In terms of our interpersonal exchanges, many of which are becoming quite strained these days, let’s review some basic coping skills that can help keep the peace ~
Email is a sure road to hell – It is important to remember not to have emotional conversations via email or text. I have heard it said this way… “Don’t have a 3D conversation on a 2D device.” Even in these days of social distancing, certain conversations need the advantage of voice intonation and body language, which only comes from voice-to-voice or face-to-face. If you have a conflict with someone you cannot be in the same room with, use a program on the phone or computer so you can at least see and hear one another.
Speak the truth, always with Compassion – When you are faced with a difficult conversation, remember that sometimes (often) the truth is difficult to hear, especially these days when we are already stressed. In my practice, we use a funny little phrase that helps keep a little compassion in the words we speak… We say, “Choose your words very carefully, for someday you will have to eat them!” This phrase goes straight to what Jesus said about, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” His statement says that we will be judged the same way we judge others. Ask yourself how you want to be judged in the world? I want to be judged with love and compassion, so that is what I strive to give to others. Let us please add an extra measure of grace and forgiveness in our conversations these days.
Let it go – Not every comment demands a response and sometimes it is easier to acquiesce, rather than escalate. This is a skill that was hard for me to learn. Ask yourself, “Do you want to be right or do you want to have peace?” When I get triggered, I do my inner work and I move as quickly as possible to the place of peace. Sometimes I don’t even need to go back and comment, because through my healing work I have been able to rise above it. Before I learned to do this, I was often triggered and looking for a way to be right, which led to a lot of problems.
Say “I’m sorry” when you screw up – This one takes large amounts humility. Take responsibility for your part of the problem, own it and simply say, “I’m sorry.” And remember, when somebody else screws up and says they’re sorry, make sure you receive their apology with humility. Sometimes receiving an apology gracefully is harder than the one who has to say, “I’m sorry” in the first place. (Think about it.)
Lessons from Motherhood – One thing I’ve learned from being a mom is to pick my battles. I have also learned another important lesson… You can win all the battles and still lose the war. I often pull back from situations because the relationship (my goal of “winning the war”) is more important to me than any particular battle. When you have done your healing work on those inner conflicts we talked about a moment ago, you will find you no longer need to keep going back for one last attempt at being right. Your inner work makes things right for you and that is your primary goal… Healing the Self.
As We Open – Many states are starting to open back up to life “out there” as opposed to the lock-down so many of us have been in. Please remember that no matter what the government or the news says, if you don’t feel comfortable and safe going out there yet, you do not have to go. No matter how much it opens up out there, you alone decide what you feel ready for in this new world we’re all going to create together, post virus. Taking this experience at your own pace is a terrific example of being Self-empowered. You decide.
Please try this at home.
I welcome your comments or private messages so I know if I’m hitting the mark for you and where you would like this blog to go next.
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