During the many counseling sessions that I co- facilitate with Doc I hear the same old response from patients when discussing the importance of letting go. ” If I forgive them then they win.” Doc always responds with the same statement, ” Learning to forgive is for you as well as the other person, so that you can move on. It doesn’t ever mean that you don’t have boundaries with that person, it just means that you take back your power.”
In my six long years on this earth, I have learned that conflict is just a normal part of relationships. As much as Doc and I love each other, we can get upset with each other sometimes. Both of us are stubborn, but Doc can get pretty bossy and get on my last nerve, but what good would it do if I held a grudge? Grudges weigh you down. It’s like dragging around a 50 pound bag of junk that you really don’t need or want.
It’s the same with friends. Inevitably you will have a disagreement. Just last week I noticed my buddy Norman was not playing with one of his favorite toys, a big green bone. Without asking, I picked it up and took it into my yard to play with it. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me, but when Norman saw me with his toy, he had a fit! Then he got me in big trouble by telling Doc what I did. He was mad at me and I was mad at him. After both of us pouted for awhile we forgot what we were mad about and starting playing again.
So now I am going to give you some helpful tools to deal with conflict when it rears its ugly head. 1. If your feathers feel ruffled, take some time to cool down before you talk about what you’re angry about, 2. Be mindful of your body language (don’t roll your eyes at the other person or use nasty hand gestures), 3. No name calling, 4. Listen and really hear what the other person is saying, 5. Focus on the things you can control and let go of everything else, 6.Take responsibility for your part in the conflict, 7. Be willing to compromise and 8. Forgive.
It’s like Nelson Mandela once said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”