Recently I have been fortunate enough to be reminded that my spiritual journey has nothing to do with anyone else. I needed to hear these words, because I have a bad habit of judging others. I toggle back and forth from judgement and criticism to love and yearning for connection. These negative cycles don’t allow me to develop spiritually and heal any past wounds. These cycles are also very destructive to my relationships with others and myself. I was reminded recently that my journey of development and spiritual growth is mine and mine alone and to meet others where they are, for everyone has a unique path and timeline, that belongs only to them.
I have always been a person that lives in ideals. I hold on tightly to what I want, from people and my relationships and from myself. These hold me back from seeing reality as it is. My perception of the world is what is, and my negative judgments of the world color my world as such. I find it difficult not to impose my thoughts on the world. But I am learning, that it is necessary to make space between myself and others, to let them grow at their own pace. So that I see the world and other people for what and who they are. To allow others to grow at the pace they are most comfortable and also, that I am able to grow, at the pace I am most comfortable as well.
Judgement comes from fear and shame. That fear and shame doesn’t allow you to see the world through the lens of love. Love is crucial for forgiveness and forgiveness is the only way out of a negative judgemental cycle. I needed to learn this concept to pursue my own path to happiness and find my way back to myself. My self development is my own journey that sometimes gets judged by myself and others. I continually forgive myself and my judgement of people around me, this is the only way to continue developing and progressing.
As I release my judgement and my projections, I know I am able to move forward in my spiritual growth because my journey is unique to me and no one else can experience and live it other than myself alone. It is sometimes lonely and uncomfortable but very necessary for change. I encourage you to be brave in your exploration of your path without any judgement of yourself or others.
Try to mind your own business, release gossip, judgement and focus on your own path and you will see that your spirit will flourish over time.
For many years I grappled with the concept of trust. How do I trust myself, my decisions, my outlook on life, my perceived reality? How do I trust others? These questions loom over me constantly. I recently started unpacking my trust journey. I am acknowledging the defense mechanisms I have set up around myself that hinders my ability to trust. The protector part of me that stands in front of me, guides me, through discerning judgements, critical analysis of people and situations and feeds me a constant stream of negative fear. I have become aware of the importance of trust; it is a fundamental steppingstone for development and growth. And most importantly for true forgiveness.
Trust by definition is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. I have always been suspicious of anything that is too reliable or true. I am cynical of everyone. My trust was non-existent. If I can’t control it, it cannot be trusted. The protector in me kept me from trusting, so I controlled and judged. I craved for a better way of being and showing up in the world. I had to unpack trust.
I know that humans are fallible and need space to make error. I didn’t allow anyone space to be human in my life. It just hurt too much. I am unforgiving because I don’t trust. How many times have I finalized and cut off a relationship simply out of fear, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment and fear of the unknown. Trust is love. I think I needed to learn that the trust I gave to myself was the love I gave to myself, and that was enough to expand outwards. Forgiveness and love are bred from trust. There was a lot of forgiving I needed to give to myself first.
I believe the walls we build around our hearts is the trust we are unable to extend to the world. Fear, painful events in our lives and chronic stress dampen trust over time. Trust is simply a leap of faith to try again and again despite the hurt we face over and over again. There is no real escape from the heartbreak we all ultimately face, and will continue to face, simply because humans are complex and fallible creatures. We are all capable of inflicting serious pain and when we decide to be distrustful, the suffering only multiplies.
Over the years, I have built layers of judgement of myself and others that festered into cynicism and a negative outlook. I have internalized a lot of pain and practiced years of self-sabotage. Along with not trusting anyone I also did not trust myself. I didn’t trust that I was able to show up in the world in a positive way. That my life was important, that I am able to contribute in a meaningful way, that I had permission to fill space in the world. Today, I see how important trust is in creating the world that connects me with the rest of my community. To practice the life I truly want, I need trust whole heartedly and release any expectations. Despite what shows up in my life, I want to choose trust every day. As I embrace trust, the protector part of me settles down, becomes more still and walks by me, not in front of me, watching carefully, and no longer getting in the way of what is the potential of a beautiful and meaningful life. With trust I am able to form new relationships, new ways of being, seeing and living.
“Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you is an awareness of me.”
This quote popped up on my Facebook feed the other day, and has been stuck in my mind ever since. The stories I tell myself of what other people are, are not always a true reflection of who they are. One part is receiving them and the other part is what my mind perceives of them. I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a false perception. It isn’t a good feeling. Bias, prejudice, discrimination, distrust, all of this clouds what could be a beautiful interaction between people.
Living in a diverse city with many cultures, I have been fortunate to have a variety of people from different backgrounds and places, come into my life. I haven’t ever thought that some of my disagreements with others came from my own flaws. What I know of myself, and see in myself, is what I see in other people. So, what I see in other people is basically a mirror. I have to check my world view and my opinions before I really let someone show up in my life. I have practiced my loving kindness meditation before without much thought. Now, I have realized that this quote can easily be applied to practicing compassion and loving kindness when it comes to receiving people we don’t agree with, click with or necessarily like. Loving kindness should be directed towards myself as much as possible, so that I am able to mirror that in my perceptions of others, and in turn show them love instead of bias and hate.
I sometimes don’t even know why I don’t like someone, my mind just simply decides. Sometimes, my distaste of other people have nothing to do with them but is directly correlated with my own shame and distaste of myself. The more I practice compassion and empathy for myself the more tolerant I am of other people, and I am able to change my perception of them. It isn’t always easy to find awareness and practice loving kindness when you would rather fuel hate and negativity. After all, anger is a rather strong force, but loving kindness is the only way to truly find yourself back to you. It is a way to be aware of the false perceptions you carry of yourself, and the bias/negative self talk that ruminates in your mind. Once I decide I’m going to show up in a way that allows compassion and empathy to be a part of my perceptions of myself, I am able to see people as their true reflections and not as a mirror of my own flaws and hurt. The journey to that state is achieved through practicing a deep loving kindness meditation. Back to the breath, straight to the heart.
It took me a long time to peel back some of the layers of my personality. To wear my masks well, and to adapt my personality to the changing circumstances of my life. Different situations called for a different part of me. I always thought that I was one authentic self, but now, I’m in the camp that I have many selves, and that I am complex, flexible and have the ability to change/adapt if I need to. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that I have one core self that creates the foundation for my likes and dislikes but, I don’t think that I have to be so hardcore that I can’t bend my personality a little, if a situation called for it.
I have found that the more in tune I am with my emotions, the better I am in understanding how I am going to navigate certain situations. One key predictor of my motivation is when I burst into tears from repressed emotions. When I repress emotions, which was easy to do when I drank, I become aware of what I am lacking or need in my life. Motivation is a key indicator of who I am. It is the reason why I do certain things or act in a particular way, it steers me to my goals and excites my life. Subconcsiously there are complex processes highlighting events of worth and distinguishing them from everything else around me. I don’t choose what interests me, it chooses me. This creates who I am, and it is my responsibility to pursue my motivations to develop meaning in my life, so that I feel fulfilled. My motivations create my personality, and when I am able to fully express my personality I am able to be of service to others, and makes me a happier person overall.
I find that it takes courage and discipline to really get to know yourself and take full responsibility for your life. I lack patience and have a temper naturally. It took a lot of energy and motivation for me to come to some agreements with myself to move forward from some of my bad attitude and short comings. I find that if I don’t continue to challenge myself, and unburden myself from my repressed emotions by exercising, meditating and talking it out with my close ones, I project my unwanted desires and needs on others. This I see in other people, and immediately recognize it as it happens. I have come to know that, if someone doesn’t want to take full action and responsibility for their motivations and wants, there really isn’t anything I can do for them to better their life. They need to want to do it themselves.
To really understand what motivates you, pay attention to what catches your eye, what you take pictures of most, what types of books you read, what music you like to listen to and what places you like to frequent, just to name a few. Despite life being frustrating and not always fair, keep pursuing what motivates you. To develop your personality is to take full responsibility for your life and actions and create the life that fits you best. I have learned that my life unfolds according to my direct choices, and that means that I need to decide what it is I want and then really commit. I understand now that if I decide to neglect or deny what I want or not express it to others, it is only me to blame for the life that I am living. This is a hard truth to swallow but very necessary for personality development. The challenges that will inevitably present themselves as you pursue your motivations are only learning curves and should not be treated as roadblocks. This takes patience and grit. To create the life that is best suited for your personality you have to pursue what motivates you, so that you are able to present your true personality without resentment, anger or bitterness.
When you are able to move through your changing personality over time, and express your many selves from an authentic place, you are able to attract the right circumstances and people that develop further your personality, and achieve self actualization. As goals change, when they inevitably do, you will know where to steer next, if you trust in the process and know that your actions are motivated by what you truly want you will find you are always in the right place at the right time. This is key to personality development.
Feeling inspired or generating insight has always been a challenge for me. I am prone to negative self-talk, and ruminate situations to the point of anguish. These habits inhibit my ability to gain clarity. In trying times, when the wind is taken out of my sails, and I am burnt out I struggle to find a positive perspective. This past year the coronavirus pandemic has been one big rollercoaster ride from hell, the unexpected turns conjured up feelings of fear, anxiety and distress.
It is difficult to feel secure, when life seems out of control, situations swinging from one extreme to the other. Finding clarity in a hellish, vague situation is not easy, but it is doable. I have found that even in my worst moments there is something to be learned or gained. Clarity for me is not a destination, it is a process. When I need some clarity, I don’t focus on one specific area of my life, person or situation, rather I open up completely and allow my subconscious to lead me.
It is my negative internal chatter that keeps clarity at bay. It is the unnecessary unsolicited advice from others, competing interests, manipulative people and so much more that blurs my focus. The more I practice quieting the chatter, silencing the noise through meditation, getting lost in a hobby or developing a plan for self-development, it is then that I find that clarity comes to me. It shows up in my life in very unusual ways, at unexpected times and helps me make grounded decisions based on common sense rather than rash emotions. I have developed habits for myself that keep me collected when I need perspective. It is important for me to stay clear, so I am able to thrive and live in reality rather than slip into escapism.
3 habits that help gain clarity:
Focus on what you can control
This is one of my favorite tools in my wellness box. It does wonders for people like me, that ruminate every scene in life a million times over. When I focus on what I can control, I am able to stop the “what if” scenarios in my head. These scenarios are energy draining and a waste of time. I also like to make lists. When it is needed, I like to weigh my options, such as things like a pro vs cons or a likes vs dislikes list. When I focus on what I can control, I allow my process to finding clarity an easier path. My subconscious is able to focus on what I know, and what I can do, rather than confuse it with conflicting priorities. I set my mindset up for a goal that is tangible and within my reach rather than solve imaginary problems, or problems that aren’t mine.
Stop comparing yourself with others
Seeking clarity has nothing to do with anyone else but yourself. It is difficult not to look for an existing blueprint outside of myself, in places like social media, movies, celebrity lifestyles, or simply anyone or anything for that matter. I find inspiration in books and I love to listen to podcasts for clarity, but I take it in with a grain of salt. I know that every tool in a self-help tool box needs to be tweaked for every user. Comparing yourself to other people or using someone else’s blueprint for life is not the best way to honor your unique personality or finding clarity. Lately, I have been feeling a growing sense of space between my life, sense of purpose, personality and uniqueness from those of others. I used to get tangled up in other people’s dreams, and agendas but not so much anymore. I think shedding envy helps to recognize that you don’t always need what someone else has, or is perceived to have, because it might not be a fit for you. Recognize your self worth and honour your gains. Protect your identity by not selling out to get what you think you should have; nothing compares to you or your life. You will find you will gain more insight when seeking clarity, when you embrace your natural personality.
Recognize your patterns
I have triggers that I recognize and I deal with them as they come. It is not always easy, but with enough meditation and self-awareness, it is possible to become more aware of the types of patterns a set of behaviours produce in life. Finding clarity is not possible when you are stressed, afraid or unhealthy. I find that when I understand my negative go-to behaviours, I am able to create distance between my negative thoughts and immediate reactions. Understanding what I feel in a heated moment, helps me collect my thoughts and words, so that I am able to express myself with common sense rather than unintended hasty emotions. Recognizing how you operate is crucial to maintaining a clear head, when seeking clarity.
Gaining insight and seeking clarity are key drivers to realizing full potential, refines personality, and establishes the ground work to be a thoughtful human. Despite the many challenges I have faced this year with going back to work as a new mom, in the midst of a full-blown pandemic, I have found that even in this situation I am experiencing so much inspiration and clarity. I don’t need a perfect situation to feel inspired. It is in the imperfect moments I find myself most challenged and invigorated. I am not always clear on where my life might end up, but I know that despite the ambiguity that faces me, I am still able to embrace the process. Moments of clarity are jewels in my life journey, and when I receive them, I smile and soak in the feeling. I know more of these moments of inspiration are coming my way, if I choose to keep working hard toward healthy habits. Clarity is a process not a destination. Keep moving.
Today I put my Easter wreath on my front door. Spring brings me such joy. The warm weather, the small pops of color coming from the earth, and the air is filled with moisture again making it easier to breath. I love to tidy my house for spring, and at any time really. Cleaning has brought up an interesting thought for me, how the action of it radically transforms a space and how it positively affects mindset thereafter.
My health journey is a long one. Involving many turning points, ups and downs. I have always struggled with digestive issues, and drinking alcohol has exacerbated the issue. Over the years, my guts have hospatilized me, decreased my energy, made me irrated, caused mood swings, affected my sleep and the list goes on. I have seen specialists, naturopaths and even tried Chinese medicine for remedies. I was looking for one solution and a quick fix for my problematic digestive system. I think partly the problem was me. I was seeking a quick remedy, one way to deal with the my health. My digestive system needed better maintenance, and an overall health reset. I needed to better maintain my mental health, my lifestyle and my eating habits as a whole. There was no quick fix.
Cleaning my house is much like how I approach my health now. It is about maintenance. When I diligently, consistently and deliberately make an effort to eat food that nourishes my gut and engage in regular exercise, my overall symptoms and health improve. I don’t wait until I am sick to act. I clean myself with positive energy, I remind myself why I choose health everyday, I choose the people that are in my life and I take action to create the world that I want. My house doesn’t clean itself, much like my body doesn’t take care of itself. That is my job.
The momentum that I create by cleaning and tidying my space, energizes me to do more for myself. I create the space I want to live in, much like I create the narrative of my own story. I take ownership of my story and what doesn’t serve me or doesn’t fit I have the ability to clean out. I am able to change and create fresh spaces, and new perspectives at anytime. Not just in one season.
Spring is a wonderful reminder of renewal and new energy. It brings a sense of freshness. Remind yourself that you are also in need of maintenance once in a while. Try on a new perspective, get a fresh haircut, walk a different route, or simply try a new food. Change is cleaning out what doesn’t fit anymore. And what doesn’t fit anymore is not progress. I maintain my health with good habits daily, like cleaning my space, choosing healthy food and keeping an open perspective. This is my progress. This keeps me fresh.
I wanted it all when I was younger, but now I know that I cannot have it all. The “all” I am talking about is anything really. The perfect house, the best relationships, the ideal job and the list is endless. When I was younger I was wildly ambitious, invincible, courageous, tenacious and fierce. This changed as I got older. Not to say that I am less of these traits but certainly different. As my priorities took form, I started to come terms with the idea that I cannot have it all. The ideal of everything, started to morph into the reality of everything instead.
I choose to focus my energy on very specific values and principles, and where my focus goes my energy flows. My energy is what gets me to where I want to be in the future. I build my foundation of my life with the energy I create in the world. My emotions help me turn my energy into action then turning my beliefs into reality. I do not have an abundant amount of energy for all of the things in my life and I don’t subscribe to the idea that people have a limitless amount of energy. I know that there is only so much time in the day and so much tolerance from needless noise in life from external forces. If I want to accomplish certain goals I need to be frugal with my energy and time, that means that some people, situations, experiences and opportunities are going to be left behind. What is left behind is not a loss, it is simply a matter of math.
I do a cost benefit analysis of the priorites/people in my life every so often. I look at my situations, relationships and where my future is going and decide what is worth my energy. You simply cannot dedicate yourself to everything and everyone without burning out. Have an honest look at the reality of the situaitons and people in your life, this is a good guide post to where your focus should go. Living in a fantasy world or having great expectations about your life and the people in it destroys your ability to set proper goals.
In my life my expectations of people were blinding me to who they really were. This set me up for some serious heartache when my energy was wasted from my goodwill or trying to mend or justify arguments. I wanted people to be who I thought they were, not who they actually were. I didn’t give people the space to show me who they were before judging them and not accepting their real selves, in turn branding them with a new personality that fit better to mine. I wanted it all. The perfect relationships, the kind that fit only me. I remedied this by listening to people and hearing how they told on themselves, piecing together their true personalities. The more I listen, the better I am able to make room for others where they belong not where I think they should be.
I peeled off the expectations and the masks I put on others, and organically situations flowed. That meant a little more work on my part, to get closer to achieving healthier and more honest relationships.
My values dictate my way of life and my priorities path the roads I travel on. Just because there are roadblocks, diversions and other nonsense, doesn’t mean I have to quit at what I want to accomplish. Sometimes, I pivot, reorganize or simply rest to feel re-energized again. Just because one area of my life is bad doesn’t mean all is lost. There is good in some of my life and not so good in other parts. I decide where I want to improve, and where or when it is not worth my energy.
One area of my life worth my energy is my marriage but I had some serious expectations of what my married life would look like, how my in-laws would be, how many kids I would have, and where I would live. Nothing turned out like I thought it would, because I don’t have the energy for it all. I have to compromise. There are somethings in my life that are exactly what I wanted and others quite the opposite. The things that I am thrilled with have compounded even more joy from the contrast of the things I don’t have. Let the things that you feel you should have, be the way that they are. You don’t have it because your energy is somewhere else. If you don’t like where your energy is flowing, consider where your focus is growing, that is where your life is going.
Life is not a race it is a marathon. Every chapter in life has its own title, story, plot line and characters. Do not compare your unique chapters with anyone else. Life is different day to day, month to month, year to year and unique only to you. Allow what comes and keep the energy flowing where it needs to be, everything else will unfold.
“You can’t always get what you want You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometime You’ll find You get what you need”
When I experience unfairness or injustice my body feels it instantly. My fight/flight mode kicks in, anger and fear bubble like a volcano. I stew with anxiety, and if left unchecked I feel depressed for some time, until I soak in a proper dose of reality and some exercise.
Fairness is subjective. Life is not fair because it is not supposed to be. Life is competitive short and painful. I think it is important to come terms with this, and not perpetuate the suffering by dwelling and complaining. Complaining about the unfairness of life is pouring salt on a wound. Here are some things I like to do when a door is slammed in my face, or a promotion sails by my office desk, or when I simply cannot take the injustice anymore of anything in my life.
When that anger or rage fills my body the best thing I do for myself is get up and move. Sometimes unfairness hits you when you are burnt out and it seems counterintuitive to move, but it is important to do so to remove yourself of all the stress hormones raging through your body. Go for a run, a walk, bike ride or simply move around your house. When you perceive injustice or unfairness your body responds with anger and fear, get some fresh air and move to get rid of the toxins. A change of scenery and movement helps your body and mind relax.
Create a Goal and Achieve It
Competition is something we all live with. Comparing our lives with others is just part of living in society. Now with social media it is more prevalent than ever before. Most of our unfair views come from our expectations that we should have what everyone else has. But we don’t know how others have achieved their perceived success. Luck over hard work has a lot to do with success, and that is something no one is able to control. When I create a goal, big or small and actually achieve it, this helps me achieve a sense of control over my life. I try to be in competition with the only person I should be, with myself. Your life should not be in competition with anyone else but yourself, the most important task is developing your own self worth so that your perception of fairness is not so obtuse that complaining dominates your life. Success is handed out unfairly, so setting your own personal goals that are attainable are important to satisfy your self esteem and live a fulfilled life.
When you can’t get the things you want, appreciate the things you have. There have been many moments in my life when I thought that I would just quit because things seemed so unfair. But then I stopped and thought about all the things that I have accumulated getting to that point, and only when I stopped and looked back I realized how much richness I have in my life. When you feel like you need or want something other than what you presently have, you will always see life as unfair. Chasing success, material things and status is addictive. Constantly looking forward, never looking back is a vicious cycle creating a scarce mind set and unsatisfied life. Maybe my life isn’t exactly the way I want it but it also isn’t exactly the way I don’t want it. Life is subjective and fairness is subjective. What I have, someone else would kill for, so it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are so many surprises that come out of not getting what you want, these sometimes can turn out to be the biggest blessings of your life. Be grateful because you never know what is coming next.
Life is complex, with many obstacles, and nothing is for certain. Life wasn’t meant to be fair, but it definitely is beautiful and worth it. By accepting the realities of your own life and looking at unfair moments as opportunities to grow and learn your body and mind will interact in a healthier way.
It is undeniable the damage a gaslighter can do if you get too close to their fire. Reality to me is something that is uncontested truth. I like facts, words and the concreteness of things. To some, reality is merely an illusion that is simply energy, a perisistent illusion. I think of reality as something that is real and existent as opposed to something that is imaginery, it is the totality of a system, known and unknown. Physcial objects, tangible and real things make up reality. I like to play with the “what-ifs” and the “what could be” once in a while, but I certainly am not blind to the “what-is” in my life.
But what happens when someone tries to undermine your entire perception of reality?
Throughout my life I have met all sorts of people, from different backgrounds from my travels and even in my own city through school, work and different love relationships. The personalities that have helped solidify my own perception of myself the most where the… gaslighters.
Gaslighters communicate in way that leave you feeling dazed, and make you question if there is something wrong with you.
Gaslighting is basically underming your reality. It is about power and control. Some basic tactics are minimizing your thoughts and feelings, deflecting and shifting blame, denying wrongdoing, using compassion as a weapon and twisting and reframing conversations. It is the behaviour not the person that I don’t tolerate. I believe that everyone can do better. I am not perfect myself and have caught myself torching others with these tactics. Awareness is key.
Gaslighters have shown me my light.
In the past I have entertained opinions about my character and put them on to wear but they never fit. The negative realities and the perceptions that were not my own were itchy, uncomfortable and never sat well with me. I am not against constructive criticism but there is a fine line. My judgments and perceptions are my own to express no matter what the other person feels. If this is challenged to the point that I have lost my opinions and feelings and adopted the other persons perceptions this is no longer a true representation of my world.
When my husband and I decided to change and grow and pursue a healthy life including going booze free, I thought we would receive only postive feedback. To my surprise that wasn’t the case, and not only did we receive negative feedback, but we found ourselves isolated for a while from people we thought we could trust and support us.
For a time I was confused but then I realized that I have a voice and I have the right to express it. I was able to carry my truth of my reality only when I wasn’t afraid to lose people that didn’t allow me to grow in my life and I let them go.
Let the gaslighters carry their perception of you by themselves, you don’t need to burden yourself with other peoples opinions of you. I am glad I ditched those torches. That was not my baggage.
I think that if you make a commitment to your reality, and what you think your future should look like, this is more important than how others perceive you. I now understand that no matter how hard you try to please others, or try to explain your perspective and feelings, it is not worth losing your power and your sense of self.
You own your right to make space in the world and show up in a way that celebrates who you are. Raw, unfiltered and real. Too many times I have let my self-image, my persistence to please and my fear, take my voice away. Now I see, that even if I generate positive energy, make myself healthier or try to contribute for the good, there will always be opposition and that reality has nothing to do with me. It takes a gaslighter sometimes to show you the light, to help you solidify your own truth and give you strength to never allow anyone to dim your light again.
I don’t know about you but I love a good argument. I am always down to figure out difficult solutions, accept disagreements, try to understand obtuse ideas, far out perspectives and extreme scenarios of any kind. Within reason of course.
I like to freely air out grievances, get things off my chest. I think this is very healthy for growth.
I love to assert my ideas and defend my perspectives, guard my values and principles. But when it comes down to the hard uncomfortable real life confrontations, I seem to always do a playback of what was said. I find that the difficult conversations that we have with people bring so much more than just words. The adrenaline rush that comes with fighting, always finds its way to my throat first before reason, or kind words. Over the years I have sharpened my communication skills as opposed to my tongue, to navigate fair fights with the people in my life.
In any scenario it is always good to have some tools in your pocket to help you get through a fight in a fair way. Strong unwanted words cannot be unsaid and the bad vibes that linger, stay until a new secure relationship takes its place post battle. Unwanted, strong harsh words and feelings are exhausting, damaging and easily avoided.
Here are some tools for fighting fair:
Set the Stage
If you confront someone or if someone confronts you, either unexpectedly or planned, be prepared to set some ground rules. These could include, no swearing, no yelling, no name-calling or whatever you need to make you feel safe and calm.
Also pick a place to fight. Ask the person to meet you in a spot that makes you feel calm and safe. If you are confronted immediately step back and ask to postpone the meeting for some other time. If this is not possible, visualize a calm safe space, this will take you out of your fight/flight mode and help you tap into your reasoning brain, which will help you communicate more effectively.
I like to talk hard uncomfortable stuff in nature, a walk in the park or just out on my front porch. I find it calming and a very neutral space for all that hard energy to dissipate. But if that is not an option, try a space that you have been before that makes you feel good, a coffee shop, a certain room in your house or even an area in a building, like a lobby. The calmer and safer the space the better your mind will react to strong emotions.
Express your Needs and Negotiate Solutions
In a perfect world my fights would always end with me as the winner. I like to right fight. I would beat my chest and say, “I told you so!” for all the world to hear, periodically through the day to boost my mood and ego. Ok, STOP! That’s nonsense, because we all know that we grow from change and that change also includes having difficult conversations with people and that doesn’t include being right or winning an argument.
Some of my biggest growth spurts came from serious fights with family members, co-workers, bosses and boyfriends. The raw emotion that travels through a confrontation has a powerful way to rewire our brains, perspective and to allow us to get to the next level of maturity. In all this raw emotion though you have to find strength to express your needs and cannot lose your sense of dignity, integrity and respect for the other person.
Sometimes our confrontations happen organically with people not from anything we have done but simply because others are not allowing you to grow. You need to know how to express your needs and negotiate solutions during and post confrontations. You need to establish what you need for yourself as you grow and communicate this to people. Nobody can read your mind. Building healthy boundaries is key to navigating a fair fight, because then you know what your breaking point is and what your limitations are. You need to express these limitations explicitly, so that solutions can be tailored to your specific personality needs and that all parties experience a sense of fairness.
Know When to Walk Away
All confrontations are worth exploring, even if it is just for personal growth. But some fights are not worth it. Sometimes you just need to walk away.
In the book Mastery by Robert Greene the chapter, Suffer fools gladly Greene illustrates how sometimes it is not worth your energy to entertain a difficult relationship with people who have foolish personalities and make cooperation impossible. He gives a description of a fool as a person that is money grabbing, obsessed with their public image, has short term thinking, ego driven, ruled by insecurities and gets little done to name a few. Greene advises, “if they are causing you trouble, you must neutralize the harm they do by keeping a steady eye on your goals and what is important, and ignoring them if you can.” – (Mastery Robert Greene) Sometimes we all act a fool, and giving people the benefit of the doubt should come first before walking away. But, when it is impossible to entice your opponent to a fair fight due to their innate difficult personality then it is worth the walk, because a dirty fight always leaves the deepest scars that take the longest to heal.