What do we spend our time doing when we are awake? For most of us, communicating with other people is at the top of the list: We interact with our families and loved ones, with our friends work colleagues, and even with strangers as we go about our everyday lives.
Communication is such an important part of who we are, as individuals and as a species, and yet how much importance do we put on teaching communication skills to young people in schools and in families? How do most of us learn to communicate? We learn from our parents, our teachers, and the other role models who influence our lives.
If we are truthful, most of us are not even conscious of how we communicate. If someone were to take a video of us interacting with others during the day, we would be most uncomfortable with what we observe — our body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, and even the words we use. Everything we communicate is a reflection of what we are feeling within. We may try to hide our feelings, but they always manage to find an expression in our behaviour.
This is highlighted especially when we have conflicts or disagreements with others. Each of us has our own style of reacting to a conflict: Some of us withdraw, some are dominating, aggressive, and angry, others feel hurt and become victim to the situation, and still others try to fix it according to what they think is right. The problem with these reactions is that they are all self-focused, whereas relationships are about considering the ‘other.’ Self-focused reactions will add to the weight of the conflict rather than lightening things to solve it.
No amount of conflict resolution and harmony building will work while we are primarily focused on ourselves. We have to shift our consciousness from ‘me’ to ‘we’ to be able to harmonize with others and solve conflicts effortlessly.
Being able to maintain healthy, dynamic, harmonious relationships with others is an art. Conflicts will arise, as differences of viewpoint are natural and to be welcomed. Imagine how boring it would be if we were clones of each other, agreeing on everything! Everything would stagnate. So the issue is, what do we do when there is conflict?
Think for a moment about small children, especially brothers and sisters. Do they fight? Of course they do, yet ten minutes later they are back playing together and hugging each other. Why? Because they belong. Love flows. Love stabilizes everything. Love is the foundation of harmony, as it creates the eagerness to dissolve any tensions, or not to allow them to develop in the first place.
Below are some other guiding principles that help us to solve conflicts. They are simple, and simple is usually the most effective.
Written by Elizabeth Denley, originally posted in Heartfulness Magazine. ELIZABETH DENLEY is a Heartfulness practitioner and trainer, and also one of the editors of Heartfulness Magazine. She is from Australia, but spends most of her time these days in India, writing, editing, researching, meditating and training others. She is a mother of two wonderful grown-up children, and has worked as a research scientist, in the business world as a manager, and as a trainer in the field of communication and personal development. She especially loves to work with today’s youth.
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