Childhood perceptions of conflict affect us all our lives. Reflecting on them without judgement enables us to begin to see conflict as a friend.
All of us have a conflict history. The roots of our conflict come from our own experience of it. They started growing in utero when we sensed our mother’s heartbeat speed up as she faced things she struggled with. This continued into our childhood as we found ourselves wanting to be ‘this’ yet having to be ‘that’. Continue reading Is conflict a friend or foe?
All of us have been taught how to be skilled in our profession, yet for the most part we haven’t perfected the most important art – the one for which we were all created – that is how to really connect in love with others. In essence we are all creatures of relationship and we need to be and to assert our real selves with conviction. Continue reading The Quality of Our Connections
The feelings that formed in us in childhood have shaped our way of being in relationships. Now, as adults, we still carry that initial trigger event. As vulnerable children we’ve all struggled with someone stronger than us. At that stage we didn’t know how to stand our ground against them. Continue reading Self Assertion
Most of us have been brought up to please others, often at the expense of our real feelings. Within us all lies our deepest fear, that of rejection. We know all to well what our society sees as acceptable and what is deemed unacceptable. This can cause us to play a game to fit in at all costs. Continue reading Can we express our real selves to each other?
Knowing when to assert and when to yield
The first word breathed into our being was God’s, “BE”. Each of us was made with so much love and intentionality. God now looks at each of us with joy and says, “Be fully your unique self”, “Step by step become more yourself” and, “Be not afraid”. We need to take His word in for it to become flesh in us. So when God says, “Be angry, but sin not” He’s aware of the enormous potential we carry. We more often see anger as a slippery slope but God sees that our authentic anger can be transformative. Continue reading Good expressions of anger
Where do our angry responses originate? Our eruptions are an outflow of what we’re already carrying inside ourselves. We’ve each formed habits of trying to manage our reality when we’re pushed out of shape, and these patterns which we typically used formed around our early experiences. The feelings we had when there was a power imbalance when we were little are still with us, and are part of our identity. So when something comes up that doesn’t sit well with us, we will follow our usual tendency of either withdrawing or moving towards the situation. Continue reading Firming up the marshes, breaking down the rocks, on the road to life-giving anger
How did it start?
Our experiences under the age of three gave us emotions from which we made assumptions about our world. Around us were others that modelled what permissible behaviour was, but often what they said we must do was idealized and different from what they did themselves. We tested life out for ourselves reinforcing learnt patterns into the foundation of our being. So our practiced behaviour became our way of engaging with reality. Continue reading Our Journey of Anger
Most of us struggle with anger in one way or another. Anger is a force for enormous change and is meant to be a positive tool to help us live fully. We’re born into a world with conflict. Our well-learned patterns of how we respond when we’re angry are deeply rooted in us. It’s these internalized patterns that are the problem. So often, since we dislike these we try to change our behaviour, but find this very difficult to do. For our automatic, visceral reactions come from a place that is not easy to access.
Continue reading Engage with Your Anger
Daring to allow our true selves to emerge
The roots of our conflict lie inside us even though we usually think of them as something external. Actually, if we don’t have this internal conflict it is very difficult for external conflict to draw us in. Naturally conflict happens inside us as we push against things we don’t normally do or say, allowing our God-given urge to life to move us outward. We do risk a lot then, but it makes us feel alive. As adults, it’s so easy to smother this dynamic, withdraw or close down as the threat and fear around destructive conflict situations paralyzes us.
Since we’re all multi-layered beings, our true inner core has to pass through these layers in order to be seen. Our outer most fringe is our ego, our trading or measured self. Next is our story self, our memories of our joys and pains. Deeper in is our survival self that fights for our very right to exist. When we desire to move outward from our core and try to be authentic, the message gets distorted and blurred by these layers. It’s because of these that we feel vulnerable and scared to love, as the self we really are fights with the self we’ve pretended to be. The conflict we witness as a result of this isn’t the real issue, but like the ‘smoke’ that shows us what’s ‘burning’.
Continue reading Choosing to Stand
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
Lyrics from Leonard Cohen in his song, ‘Anthem‘
As children we let our curiosity take us into unknown places to discover more about our world. If we were given freedom to explore, we learnt to take risks, if punished, to stay within known parameters. We also watched our parents make life choices which gave us our own feelings of what was possible or not. These feelings and behaviour patterns remain deeply engrained in us and as adults we are still either more cautious or are risk takers. Continue reading Light through the Cracks