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Doing Laundry

28 Mar

Learning to navigate through conflict isn’t always easy.  When we disagree with someone and things escalate it can be hard to stay on the subject at hand.  If we are passionate about our position and afraid we are losing we may decide to bring other issues into the conversation.  We all have a laundry list of things that bother us, and if we feel our position is slipping we may pull it out and begin sharing all the things that bother us.  They say the best defense is a good offense and that works in some situations but in our interpersonal relationships going for the throat and hitting with all our might may cause damage we don’t want.  It’s normal to get mad sometimes and there may be moments when the person we are closest to drives us nuts.  We can always do the laundry and tell them all the things we don’t like, or we can wait, allow time to calm down, and then talk about what we want.  Words are powerful and once uttered are permanent.  There is no way to go back and erase something we’ve said.  When we lash out in anger and say things that hurt others we may win the battle today but the lingering pain of what we’ve said may last indefinitely.  Instead of doing laundry when we feel overcome, we can look at the situation more objectively.  Many things we disagree about are insignificant in the scope of life.  We can step back, take a breath and see the situation more clearly.  Our relationships are important and take precedence over any difference of opinion.  We can choose to value them and even in disagreement, take care of them.  Every happiness is possible.  Choosing well will help us achieve it.

We would never use a cannon to kill a fly.  A fly swatter is sufficient for the situation and it’s absurd to consider anything more but sometimes in conflict we may choose a cannon when all we need is a fly swatter.  When we feel we are losing we may want to stop everyone in their tracks and take the biggest weapon we can find.  But it’s not helpful to choose something that will destroy when all we really need is a little more influence.  We have all the wisdom we need to make excellent decisions, even in conflict.  We can be appropriate and careful, and still prevail while protecting our relationships.

When we get hit our first reaction may be to hit back.  We don’t have to take abuse without responding but how we respond often determines what happens next.  We can diffuse any situation and find a solution more easily by addressing the affront with patience and clarity.  Communicating calmly will end conflict more effectively than fighting back.  We can choose the best roads going forward.  We can be in control and make decisions that will bring us peace and success.

Today if you’ve had it and want to pull out the laundry list of things you don’t like, think about where that will take you.  Your relationships are precious and more important than any disagreement.  Step back and decide the best way forward.  You are strong and powerful, and nothing is too difficult for you.  Think clearly and choose well.  You’ll find greater happiness and peace ahead.

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