Conflict is something I traditionally shied away from. I was never comfortable having to confront people over situations which hurt me as I was growing up. Consequently there were times when people walked all over me and I lost respect from them, where I actually expected the opposite. I thought if I went along with what everybody else wanted, I would be seen as amenable and therefore likeable. But I was wrong. People have more respect for strength than weakness, even if they are the receiver of your wrath. As with anything in life, we learn from our experiences, good and bad. I did eventually learn that there is no need for hostility, but if someone is doing the wrong thing by you, it is OK to stand your ground and follow your convictions. It prevents others from taking away your power.
Recently I was mediating in a situation between two people close to me, and it was interesting to be an impartial observer from the outside. In the overall scheme of things, it should have been a minor incident. It began with a misunderstanding and then blew out of all proportion. This occurred because the parties involved didn’t really understand each other and each thought the other was in the wrong. There were also two different cultures involved, each person being brought up with different values. I could see both viewpoints and it made me think about perception. What is perfectly normal behaviour for one person, can be totally inappropriate for another. Everybody has their own model of how they view the world which creates expectations of acceptable behaviour. When someone else does something that does not fit into their model, they don’t understand how to deal with it. Invariably anger ensues and when this occurs, it’s hard to shake, but at the end of the day the only person it really affects is you. This is destructive and causes unwanted illness.
I was reminded just how important it is to understand and respect the models of other people, even if you don’t understand or agree with them. I also thought about how important it is to first and foremost love and understand yourself. It is so easy to be brought down by another person if you don’t fully respect and honour who you are. If you don’t love yourself it is difficult for other people to, and it is also difficult for you to love someone else.
We are all born equal and deserve to be happy and treated well. The person who came off the worst in this incident was the person with the lowest self esteem. The situation would never have escalated like it did if she had enough confidence and self respect to not see herself as the victim of someone stronger. As difficult as this situation was for them I tried to help them take away a positive learning experience from it. I taught them how to understand someone else’s model, and encouraged them to have no pre-conceived expectations, which is often a disappointment.
Perhaps you don’t even realise what is important to you until it’s challenged, but just remember we are all different and those differences are what makes human interaction so interesting. Please don’t let anyone steal your power, and don’t try to take power away from others, because it is our diversity that allows us to learn more about life and the purpose of what we are all doing here this time around.