A New Year….A new website. New beginnings. Fresh new coaching programs. This year I will have new clients….new friends. Hope is renewed. New beginnings in my marriage…….
New Year’s Day presented us with a fresh opportunity to do conflict in a new way. We could have done the same old dance. He’s triggered by something I say, he reacts-defending-lashes out, harsh words. I retreat-go lick my wounds…chew that sock. Tension. Silent drive to the movie. Sharp looks. My judging his heart motive, making up a story in my mind, buying it-taking my story as gospel. Punishing. It could have gone on and on. Tension building for the day-wrecking the weekend. I decided to break the silence. Offer up an opportunity to have dialogue about where we went wrong. Still hurt and angry, he pointed out my infractions….judging me. I listened-didn’t react. I didn’t defend myself, but decided to own my wrong. I wanted to diffuse the anger. I confessed that I judged his heart motive. I confessed my error, my wrong. I can’t know the motive of his heart. What a recipe for conflict…..to assume the motive of another’s heart-then judge them and react accordingly.
The next time you find yourself in conflict, try looking at the conflict as a pie. Realize that there are all kinds of ingredients that go into that pie. Think first what ingredients you added. Were you judging the other person? Were you assuming their heart motive? Telling yourself a story (that you might be taking as gospel when you really can’t know for sure)? Were you tired or already having a bad day and projecting your anger or impatience onto the person who maybe offended you in some minor way? Could you have chosen to turn the other cheek? Could you have set a boundary early on and in a kind way so that bitterness and anger wouldn’t fester and brew? Was there an opportunity to look at the other person and possibly see what was going on for them? So many times we don’t look at the Conflict Pie and realize we are throwing in some of our own ingredients. We only look at the ingredients the other person has contributed….and we want them to pay….and we punish. So many times I’ve miscalculated my husband’s heart….I haven’t realized that he is doing the best he can with the ingredients he has. If he had sugar-he would probably put it in.
It’s a new year and I want to bake a new kind of pie this year. I want to bring more of the good ingredients…..no bitterness, no poison, more honey.