Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Strength of Compassion - Coming at Conflict with an Open Heart

When men enter into conflict, whether it's a disagreement with a buddy over who is the best NFL quarterback of all time or it's a debate with his fiance over the pros and cons of a DJ at the wedding, if men care about the conflict, their goal is to win. In essence, winning means the other person loses - when someone loses, there are hurt feelings.

But this is not how conflict needs to be handled, it's simply how men are raised (in general, of course) to approach conflict.

The idea of approaching conflict with compassion and an open mind and heart seems like a sure way be humiliated. Again, it need not be this way.

Conflicts generally arise when two or more people who differing needs and/or beliefs. If we approach these situations as opportunities to learn about someone else, and allow our minds and hearts to remain open, then conflict can become an experience in which we learn more about others and more about ourselves.

The Strength of Compassion

Coming at Conflict with an Open Heart

by Madisyn Taylor

Conflict should always be met with open ears and an open heart.

Conflict is an unavoidable part of our lives because our beliefs and modes of being often contrast powerfully with those of our loved ones, acquaintances, and associates. Yet for all the grief disagreements can cause, we can learn much from them. The manner in which we handle ourselves when confronted with anger or argument demonstrates our overall level of patience and the quality of our energetic states. To resolve conflict, no matter how exasperating the disagreement at hand, we should approach our adversary with an open heart laden with compassion. Judgments and blame must be cast aside and replaced with mutual respect. Conflict is frequently motivated by unspoken needs that are masked by confrontational attitudes or aggressive behavior. When we come at conflict with love and acceptance in our hearts, we empower ourselves to discover a means to attaining collective resolution.

The key to finding the wisdom concealed in conflict is to ask yourself why you clash with a particular person or situation. Your inner self or the universe may be trying to point you to a specific life lesson, so try to keep your ears and eyes open. Once you have explored the internal and external roots of your disagreement, make a conscious effort to release any anger or resentment you feel. As you do so, the energy between you and your adversary with change perceptibly, even if they are still operating from a more limited energy state. Consider that each of you likely has compelling reasons for thinking and feeling as you do, and accept that you have no power to change your adversary’s mind. This can help you approach your disagreement rationally, with a steady voice and a willingness to compromise.

If you listen thoughtfully and with an empathetic ear during conflict, you can transform clashes into opportunities to compromise. Examine your thoughts and feelings carefully. You may discover stubbornness within yourself that is causing resistance or that you are unwittingly feeding yourself negative messages about your adversary. As your part in disagreements becomes gradually more clear, each new conflict becomes another chance to further hone your empathy, compassion, and tolerance.

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