Dear Desi, When someone comes at us with negativity in a conflict situation, instead of responding in kind, how do we quickly get in touch with our inner goodness, and take the proverbial high road?
So I love to make people feel good. It is my life’s work to be an encouraging uplifting influence in all that we do. And, still I manage to really mess this up sometimes.
Just last week, I was traveling and had a hotel situation that ruffled my feathers. It made me snappish with the staff as we were all attempting to resolve the problem. My co-pilot confronted me on my unkind behaviors and so I snapped at her too. Aren’t I awesome? Lol. After we battled it out for a minute I realized two things. One, my co-pilot, must really love me because she is willing to tell me how she see’s it and two something is clearly bothering at a level much deeper than the situation itself.
10 minutes of dialogue and self reflection later, I realize that this is my responsibility gene again. You know that one that says it is my job to make certain that everyone gets exactly what they need all of the time. So we dug a little deeper and I came to realize that there had been multiple times in the past month or so where I had been snappish and they all linked back to this idea that I was responsible. In every situation the person was confronting me on what they felt I “should have done”. It seemed like they did not fully understand what had already been tried or the impact it might have on people I love.
The thing is, that these situations happen all of the time, but over the past few weeks I have become ultra sensitive because I am trying something new. And I don’t want to disappoint my colleagues or my family with so I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to get it all perfect. As if that’s even possible. And there is the conflict rub, I had become unkind because I was carrying a burden that no one asked me to carry. I had taken it upon myself to carry the weight of my exciting new approach to life and work as if it was a problem.
Once I let go of the idea that I had to show everyone that things were going to be ok, or act as if everything was perfect I was able to better calibrate my emotional responses. This was a big shift from the over reaction I had been having to these small life occurrences.
So when you ask, “how can I take the proverbial high road” the first thing to do is to figure out what gone you down in the dirt to start? Obviously whatever is being said caused a trigger in some way (check out the Un_Triggered blog post) and now serves as an opportunity to clear out some old beliefs that we just flat out don’t need anymore.
It’s so funny how we will let these old patterns sabotage what we really want. In all of the confrontations that recently happened to me people were simply trying to do their jobs. I was the one resisting the facts being presented. I wanted them to tell me something different, to acknowledge my effort – when actually none of that really even mattered. What mattered was what we all wanted or needed to successfully move forward. Had I focused on the long-term goal, rather than the accusation, I may have been a bit more successful in my interaction. The truth is, it’s just easier to remember that when I am not feeling quite so sensitive.
So if someone comes at you in a way that feels negative or confrontational, thank them. Let them know how much you appreciate their approach and candor because it is giving you a chance to self-reflect and improve the circumstances for everyone involved.
And if the situation is just too charged to be in gratitude, which will happen. Then use the bathroom break, hold button, or phone mute strategy to give yourself a minute to breath. Then consider what you really want for yourself, the other person and the situation as whole.
Most importantly, remember to apologize and move on. Judging yourself will only continue the cycle of conflict. Every time we stop beating ourselves up, we open the door for more love and less conflict. So if you find yourself down in the dirt, shake it off and get back on the road.
Time for me to go, I have an apology to write.