Last night, a Person I Care About asked me a favour (well, two, actually) and it really pissed me off.
Mainly because of circumstances. I was tired, hungry, had my evening planned out, and was late to start on my dinner. If you’re playing along at home, you’ll also know I’m writing essays like a bastard, so both my study time and my off time is pretty planned and pretty precious.
I knew how I wanted to be about it – easy-going, reasonable, loving.
I felt harrassed, annoyed, interrupted, cheated.
Here’s the thing: Your Inner Fighter does not need encouragement.
(Remember your Inner Fighter?) Creating conflict does not take work. Arguments and drama can happen without much effort, and can be maintained or escalated with almost no conscious expenditure.
Being peaceful takes effort and consciousness.
To be the way I wanted to be about this did not come naturally.
I had to use all my resources.
I watched my mind come up with reasons why this was bad, why I would never have done this if the situation were reversed, why he knows that I… (I was driving. I had nothing else to do.)
So, I think there is validity in giving angry people time to feel what they’re feeling, so I let myself feel what I was feeling.
Then I did a whole bunch of things. I put my focus on the relationship, the qualities that I wanted to embody. I thought about this tiny event in the long line of my life, in the long line of the relationship with this person, our past, our future. I looked at what need was not being fulfilled – me living the evening I had planned – and worked out if I could allow my evening to be re-jigged.
I ate something.
Consciousness never becomes a habit.
By definition, if we want to have more conscious relationships with people, we have to stay conscious, and consciousness always takes, well, being conscious.
Which means making the choice again to cut yourself some slack, and cut the other person some slack, and get out your tools and use them.
I don’t mean this to be a big story about how great I am at being all calm and stuff (I was still a little pissy when I turned up, but much better than 15 minutes before) but about how, if all this stuff feels like hard work sometimes, er, well, it is sometimes.
If it were easy and natural, the world would be quite different, eh?
So relax. And keep going. You’re doing great.
Fancy joining my get-better-at-difficult-conversations experiment? Check out how to get better at difficult conversations for free. As well as weekly guidance, you get a free e-book, discounts, and, well, more. I know. right?
This is a comment-free site.
If you were wanting to leave a comment, there are two things you can do now.
1. If you liked this post and you’d like to show some love, feel free to Tweet/Facebook/email it to whoever you think would like it too.
2. If you have questions or thoughts (even very vague, half-baked ones) email me:
andrew |at| andrewlightheart |dot| com
It helps if you put ‘APR’ (‘A Peaceful Resolution’) in your subject line, so that I know you’re a person not an evil spammer.
If you liked this, you might like some of these too...