Let’s face it, no one likes to fight with the person we love the most. Some people avoid it like the plague and would do or say anything to keep the peace. There are moments that we can’t avoid going into conflict where we experience the hurt of separation whether big or small. This is the key: We Don’t Want To Suffer! because we don’t truly understand the hidden healing meaning this situation can reveal.
Let me talk you through this analogy that I always use with my clients and students: Let’s say you have been living in your house for the last 30, 40, 50 years and as you look around your kitchen you realize that the pipes are blocked and need repair, the fridge is not working so great and some of your food is going off, the toaster burns your toast and it’s been years since you had a decent cup of coffee. You know it’s time to refurnish the kitchen, so finally you put all of your creative energy, your finances and get the qualified help to create your dream kitchen. As the works start the whole place is a battle field. You have no water, no electricity, the walls are stripped down, it’s cold and dusty everywhere. This project is taking longer than expected and you start to wonder if it was a good idea to even start as things are a lot worse now, you can’t even have a cup of tea!
This is the most important moment, you have two choices, to stop the work and wish everything was the way it was (you tell yourself it wasn’t that bad after all), or you hold on knowing that before creating something new we must let go of the old. If you can stick to your vision of your beautiful, comfortable and reliable new kitchen, the discomfort will soon pass away and you won’t know yourself having your double mochaccino in your new fancy coffee maker! As easy or difficult this renovating process might be in your own home, imagine how it would be if you are renovating the kitchen with your partner?! Ahhhh! often a clash of different styles and values, practical versus statics, cheap versus expensive and functional versus aesthetic and so on, you get the picture. We might see this as CONFLICT, thinking that we are very different, have nothing in common and we tell ourselves we are in the wrong relationship. We tell ourselves we must pack up and run or fight to the bitter end. When in fact, as I see it, this is one of the most important part in any relationship, this is the moment that we get to co-create together. If we can accept the other as they are, and if we can show ourselves as we are, then we can find a common ground. To go through this co-creating process we have to let go of the fixed idea that our way is best and challenge ourselves to having our fancy double mochaccino in the not so fancy mugs with the banner of your beloved’s rugby team.
Conflict is about four things: firstly shock, anger and strife, secondly acceptance of the others position as different from your own, thirdly co-creating a common ground and finally leading to a deeper connection in the relationship.
As a relationship therapist and coach my job is to help couples and individuals step back from conflict with each other and begin the process of co-creating that common ground. A common ground that is based on acknowledging the other persons views as valid for them but maybe different from our own.I find when couples begin to co-create together they become more aware and respectful of the values and needs of their partner, ultimately leading to more harmony, peace and a a deeper feeling of connection in the relationship.
The thing is, once you are both back to love, enjoying your new co-creation together, you open the door to the living room and you begin the same process again! The difference is that you are now aware of what is going on!