Managing Conflict – Insights from the Wilderness #16

Surviving DivorceA friend recently told me that he was tired of all the conflict in his life. He wanted to know what I thought he could do to live a more peaceful life.

I told him that there were three skills or insights that he needed to incorporate into his life to reduce conflict and increase peace and happiness.

First, he would need to drop the idea that life should always be peaceful. The reality is, it’s not possible to create a peaceful world because the concept of a peaceful world is an illusion.

Conflict can never be totally eliminated because it’s a fundamental by-product of change. Nothing in life is fixed or static. Everything in the created universe is subject to change. Change is how evolution happens. In other words, without change nothing could evolve.

But change often creates conflict.

This is especially true of the one thing that, more than any other, tries to resist change……and that is our own ego. Our ego simply does not like change. In fact, our ego often creates conflict whenever we think others are trying to change or challenge our beliefs. We like to believe that our beliefs represent absolute truth.

Until we learn to change our beliefs there is no way that we can grow or become more than we are right now. Until we learn to open ourselves to the possibility that our beliefs may need modification from time to time, we will not only continue to create conflict defending them, we will not evolve or experience true happiness. That’s because the evolutionary impulse to grow or become is an inherent force that resides in every one of us…and we are always happiest when we are growing and becoming who we were created to become.

Second, stop taking things personally. Learn to get over yourself. Everything that others do or say to you is rarely about you. Your narcissistic primitive ego wants to take everything personally, but the simple reality is that others are only projecting or reflecting their own beliefs and feelings onto you. They are simply being who they are.

And finally, drop your assumptions and your expectations. When you assume, your primitive ego will quickly “assume” your “assumptions” are true, and then it will take any challenge to your assumptions personally. The same thing will happen when you set up an expectation. Your primitive ego will cast it in concrete as something that “will” happen, and when it doesn’t your primitive ego will again take it personally.

If you can learn to incorporate these three important skills or insights into your thinking, the level of conflict in your life will all but disappear and the level of happiness and joy will increase significantly.

Transforming our primitive ego consciousness through self-awareness into a more matured and enlightened adult consciousness is essential if our goal is a more peaceful, happy, and joy filled life.

Listen to Dick read this Nugget

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2 Responses to Managing Conflict – Insights from the Wilderness #16

  1. charlie wallace November 11, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    Dick good morning,
    I have been married for twenty-nine years. I ‘ve gone through many changes in my spiritual walk. I ‘ve done the acim, after leaving christianity. I found you after seeking me and discovered personal boundaries. In setting these boundaries that I was oblivious to my wife has been resistant. For my own happiness I know I must stand firm. She is a die hard christain and is convinced she is right and I must adopt her beliefs. She has been relentless to prove that I am wrong in any given situation no matter what it is. She often tells me to agree with her even if I don’t. I believe that I have been a codependant living with a narsasis type personality. She like most women is driven by her perseption of security, financial, emotional, and spiritual.
    I think I need to get out. I don’t see her changing. Any thoughts?

    • DickRauscher November 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Hi Charlie,
      Thanks for the comments and question.

      What you need to do in your relationship is obviously up to you. What I would suggest is perhaps accepting the reality that she does not appear to be willing to change her thinking. You can’t change her thinking, and she can’t change yours.
      If you can drop your expectation that she “should” or “will” change, it might help to you just be with the reality that she thinks differently and leave it at that.

      My favorite internal reminder when I run into this situation personally is to say to myself “He or she is not about to change. Deal with it. Accept it. I need to get on with creating the life I want to live.”

      It’s my way of reminding myself that my expectations have the ability to create a lot of pain for myself when they don’t come true. When I can drop them, I find my emotional life goes back to normal.

      I hope this is helpful.
      Take care

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