Turn Fighting Into Fortune And Save Relationships
What The Heck, Conflict?
How To Turn Fighting Into Fortune And Save Relationships:
Dear Diary: What the heck? It seems that conflict is manageable in the rawest of sense, unless one major factor is involved: Emotions. Okay, so I am somewhat kidding in my opening line with the “what the heck,” but this simple question spawns my greatest of interest and depth regarding conflict in relationships. Turn fighting into fortune and save relationships.
There are certainly many more elements than emotion that drive the ups and downs of relationships, but mismanagement of your emotions can greatly impact the outcome. We must consider what outcome we are so profoundly invested in as we discover the true meaning underlining the conflict. In this essay, I will discuss the power and conflict in relationships; mainly intimate relationships. My research and interest will likely conclude many answers and insights into the question, “What the heck?”
I believe and always will that people in intimate relationships can truly get along as they engage each other in an accepting and bonded way. The first item up for bids in deconstructing the best in individuals and relationships is the pre-programming of society.
Who made the rule book? We tell our kids, our spouses and constantly imply and accept that “relationships are hard.”
First, I give that statement a resounding “so what,” to minimize its power. Truth is; that statement is like telling someone that every toilet seat will make you itch after using it. We have robbed every possible interaction for resolution and contentment by starting with the end in mind. What if you walked into a counseling office depressed and he/she said, “This is not going to be good.”
It is crucial for all of us to develop a positive outlook as a foundation to what is to come. Conflict in marriage is raw, real and emotional, but that doesn’t mean it’s doomed or doesn’t have a chance. We certainly can’t take back what is said after it has left our lips, but we have a choice whether to believe what we heard or not. Rewriting our script based in what he have been programmed to believe will change our entire stage and the drama that is played out.
It is possible and not always so complex to work through issues of both heart and logic. Needs and those unmet are at the core of our intention and investment towards assumed outcomes. We all have the tendency whether intentional or not to seek outcomes. These outcomes may be good for us or they may not. Either way, we systematically allow our emotions and all reason to get hijacked to support our end zone. As the hale marry pass in launched, we frantically run down the field hoping that we catch the pass.
Unfortunately, there are other players on the field who do not want us to catch the ball. Sometimes life takes a long pass of faith and risk, but in general it’s the play by play that gets us to the end zone. I am certainly not concluding that conflict in relationships is a game, but I am inviting all of us to engage the play-by-play mentality.
There may not be an exact play that will have us always score, but we can develop a plan that works for our team to give us the best shot. We must realize that we are truly on the same team in relationships and not against each other. There are times where the opinions may be divided, but this is not reason to abandon the playbook designed specifically for us.
There is power in understanding that we can stop maintaining and design what works best for us. Drop the rule book society has proven not to work and create a winning game plan. Instead of investing in outcomes, celebrate the other person as you elevate their happiness. Don’t throw a pass that is too hard to catch.
OH NO, mistakes happen. The pass was low and not easy to catch or the referee stepped in the way and you lost the game. The greatest thing about a relationship is that you may lose a game or two but that doesn’t mean the team is gone. We must tackle issues together, do our best and walk away proud we gave it our best shot. All too often in relationships, we assume it’s not worthy of continuing on. How dare we think we are so good to know what is next? I coached the greatest group of varsity high school boys’ basketball and we only won one game all season. Who are these boys?
They were not state champions but they are champion people. One of the boys used to cry when he was a freshman each time he got fouled. I would console this young man and tell him everything was going to be alright. Some would laugh and most did not understand. I knew he was a beautiful person and it was my job to celebrate who he is, and press him to grow within that reality. I chose not to say, “You shouldn’t cry when you are fouled, you look ridiculous.” This is similar to conflict in relationships.
It is not proactive to start listing all the things we don’t like or don’t understand. Each of us is unique and together we are a team. I remember asking this young man what our overall goal was. He said, “Coach, to win the game of life and to be our best.” Basketball did not define us and I taught those boys that valuable life lesson. I was more proud that he had grasped the true concept in that there is something way bigger than a “game” going on here. I had the opportunity as an online student to spend some time on campus spring term.
As I walked into the library, I saw a picture of the new president of the student body. It was him, the young man who used to cry when he got fouled. The next day I saw him walking on campus. I yelled across the way and said, “Mr. President, how do you feel?” He said, “I feel like crying.” To tell you the truth, I welled up under my sunglasses. Our relationships can create the same journey with similar outcomes. Trying to be someone else will fail us every time. We are unique and allowing our partner to embrace that individual spirit is powerful. How do we view our intimate partners? Are they the kid that is a crybaby? Or, are they someone who we are curious about and are eager to celebrate?”
What mask do you wear? What persona do you try and uphold to impress the world? What do you hold on to so tightly that not only ruins relationships but robs your own inner personal happiness? Are you willing to cry when you’re fouled on the basketball floor? Are you prepared to be exposed for the real you? Imagine for a moment if who you are behind the mask is acceptable, beautiful and ripe?
Is it always someone else who is breaking you down, or is the closest person to you: you? We must go into every interaction, conflict or challenge with a belief in ourselves. I don’t mean a cocky “know it all” wall that doesn’t allow growth and compromise. I am simply saying that we don’t have to defend everything that may not appear acceptable to society. We put so much pressure on ourselves to look good from the inside to our outer appearance. This creates defensiveness when our partner expresses their opinion, when it is really an opportunity.
Listening without interruption is powerful. When we are hit, we immediately want to punch back or run. If we believe that we are worth it whether we did it right or inconsistent with the others view, we are still okay overall. We may have missed the pass on one play, but we are again huddled together for the next. Many times our partner can see things in us that we can’t or don’t want to see in ourselves. Don’t hide who you are.
Things get emotional but at times I think not emotional enough. We are all guarded, have more to say than we lead on and have the ability to listen beyond what our self-image allows. “Listen through the hit,” is a great way to truly hear the other person. We are not them and they are not us. It is counterproductive to think that everyone should be like us, and if their not, its grounds for argument. Take the mask off and reveal what’s behind. Don’t we take the helmet off at the end of the game? Once again, it’s not the game; it’s what we have when the game is over.
The coach calls a timeout and says, “Boys, they’re going to run the ball on the next play, so let’s run the defense we practiced.” After the timeout, the other team runs a pass play instead and wins the game. We must not assume what is being said or what “play” they are running. Assumption is like spraying weed killer on your near blooming rosebush. How do we expect to get roses if we kill them before budding? If we want the roses to bud and become beautiful, we must nourish and feed them. Relationships are the same way.
We must be open to interpretation and investigate our assumptions with facts. The facts come through questioning and listening. When we are at a loss, we must continue listening. If we call a pass play and your teammate goes the other way, we have a choice. We can get mad and tell them they didn’t do it right and create a conflict. Or, we can ask them why they decided to go that way. Attacking the other party will only make the situation worse. This is a perfect opportunity to put your investigator hat on and not judge.
Do you really know why? If you are like me and think you can read people, you may think you know the reason. However, in relationships, our ability to read can be clouded by emotions, self-image, investment outcome, hurt feelings, or unmet needs. I know firsthand how quickly we can lose our ability to read our intimate partner. Jumping in to the deep waters with someone does not always save them or benefit the both of you. Sometimes it is a matter of tossing them a life jacket and letting them better understand why they are in that position. I am definitely not saying that we should let our partner drown, but we can make it harder on them if we jump in with them.
Give them grace in their imperfection as imperfection may simply be what makes them perfect. All too often in relationships we assume, judge and feed the plants with round-up expecting them to grow. Asking questions with the ability to listen empathetically will greatly increase the chances of truly understanding them. Our job is to interpret and not instigate. Being honest will really aid others interpretation. Don’t make it tough on your partner by trying to appear “right” or save face. Open up and get to the root of the issue and not the root of your insecurity. If it is insecurity that underlines it, then say that. As a society, we fall short of knowing ourselves, our worth and the inconsistencies that break down our lives and those we share our journey with.
Put the checklist away. Who made up the checklist anyway? Our society has created a system of what fits and what doesn’t. The television has helped create a facade that nobody can live up to. We put pressure on ourselves and try to fit others into a mold that will not benefit our overall life. The question, “Are they a good fit for me,” creates an expectation and cuts off opportunity. The “checklist” is not a game plan and will have most throwing in the towel once they get punched.
A boxer or at least a good one doesn’t quit when he is punched or even cut. I am not implying that you are boxing your partner, but I am saying that we will “punch” and “get punched” (metaphorically speaking). Obviously, if you are actually getting punched, it is most likely time to consider removing yourself from the relationship. However, if things are simply not perfect, then engage it. We must be much more curious than we are cantankerous. I recently had someone judge me because I don’t eat ice cream or a lot of pasta. The reality is that ice cream is more of an allergy and my love for pasta will have my waistline bulging. Who would have thought that it is because I love ice cream and pasta so much, but I literally can’t do it all the time? Even if I didn’t like those things, it doesn’t mean I won’t eat them once in a while.
Whether the beginning of a potential relationship or long term marriage; the checklist can place unwarranted pressure on an interaction or overall relationship. Go into conflict or getting to know someone with curiosity and not judgment or whether they fit the checklist. You may find that you are wrong in your assessment as you assume your way out of being curious. The President (young man I coached) cried after being fouled because he is sensitive and not because he was physically hurt. Had I assumed he was physically hurt, I would have missed the opportunity to learn more and get curious about his heart and not his hamstring. Do you really know your intimate partner, or are you more interested in fitting them into your own expectation while you interrupt your own truth and growth?
As I have asked myself the question, “What the heck,” many times in my life, it has created both a passion for my own relationships and helping those around me. Sometimes it is something so simple that can change an entire conflict. Being willing to manage each interaction with an open mind and heart with attentive ears and patience, is powerful. I truly am on a mission to better understand what lies beneath the “What the heck” question. Asking this question implies that we have no clue as to why things are happening to us or why situations are unmanageable. One of the most powerful choices we have is who we bring on our team.
Not everyone will be willing to engage in managing the health of you, them, and the relationship. We must be very careful to not take on people who don’t want to work with us, or themselves. All too often, we choose people who are projects or need our assistance. I have found that this has two sides. One is that they may need to make changes, but we can also be avoiding our own stuff by aiding others in theirs. That is hard to admit and even harder to take action to change it. One of my main goals is remember that even if I can help others, I need to help myself. Being who we are is powerful. Unmet needs will have us asking “what the heck” as we embark on the journey of understanding. Simply tossing in a little giggle of laughter while you say what the heck can change your perspective.
Perspective can feed or kill a rose and would have had me judging the President as he cried his way through many basketball games. I could have hid him from the world and kept him on the bench. However, I celebrated him and didn’t overreact to fuel the crowd’s opinions. When people would try and put him down or ask me why he does that, I’d say, “Wouldn’t you love to be confident enough to show your true emotion?” My perception of the President was one of acceptance and the same opportunity lives in relationships.
It took both the young man and I to make what could have been embarrassing and a tragedy into at triumph. I allowed him to be himself and he allowed himself to be him. One could surmise that I taught him something. However, when two people are themselves, are on the same team and create a positive environment for growth, they both benefit. the President made a difference in my life and I made a difference in his.
It’s time for our world to start celebrating each other and that can be at the heart of both our personal journey and the one we take with others in intimate relationships. My passion is that people accept who they are, like who they are and support others in who they are. I believe I am put here to aid others in conflict both internally and externally. This passion both impacts their walk in this life and at the same time greatly transforms mine. In the end, it’s about team and the game plan you develop with your partner. If we focus too much on the game, we will lose sight of the true meaning of life which is people.
Our goal should be walking away from the stadium, the stage or the strife, hand and hand smiling our way through the journey together. We are not players, we are not actors, and we are not arguers. We are people who need to love and be loved. The road that leads us all is based not in property or profit but richly in hugs and heart. Don’t be afraid to cry when you are fouled as that is not your ending. It may just be the road to becoming the President. I truly look forward to helping many individuals, couples and groups realize their full potential by answering the question, “What the Heck?”
What is your greatest challenge or asset that you bring or take away from a relationship? Please Comment Below!