Have you noticed the impact conflicts have on your body?
Have your noticed how your body automatically responds to even a slight nuance in the voice of your spouse, colleague, friend, child or parent?
I notice that my stomach often becomes tight when a situation is tense – perhaps because I ‘don’t dare’ to breathe as fully, or my body is preparing itself to fight.
Our physical response, which is driven by our amygdala, often drives us to react to conflicts in the same way as we always have. Some people fight, some freeze, and others flee.
What is your most common response?
Noticing how we respond is the 1st step to changing our automatic response.
We most likely developed a survival mechanism to deal with conflicts from childhood, yet does this still serve us today?
So why change our way of handling conflicts?
I personally find that it is impossible to experience deep connection and intimacy with people if we don’t handle conflicts well. We create a distance, both mental and physical. We stop touching and hugging one another, and we might stop having sex with our partner. We begin living parallel lives.
After years of being in relationships were we do not communicate well, we experience distance, we begin to feel numb. At one point we cannot live in the situation one more day, so we walk away – from a spouse, from a friend, from a job, and sometimes even from children, siblings and parents.
It is sad when relationships break down – especially if the solution lies in finding new ways to deal with conflicts more constructively.
The good news is that it is possible to learn how to better deal with conflicts. It takes practice, but when we get the hang of it, it is hugely empowering. We increase intimacy with the people closest to us. We feel connected and alive – and that is wonderful energizing.
I will share in a later blog post what I have learned around dealing with conflicts.
“The history of your happiness is the history of your feeling connected.” Vironika Tugaleva