Relationships are so crucial to experiencing a fulfilling life – we seek people out, accepting those that accept us, and somehow we reject those who deny us acceptance. We like people who like us, and dislike those who dislike us. Its simple human psychology.

But relationships are sometimes thorny and tricky. Disagreements tend to be common-place whenever there is vested emotion, interests, and attachments within two people. Its inevitable. Painful disagreements are inevitable. I believe however, what is evitable is the suffering that comes along with these conflicts of opposing perspectives.

And from my personal direct experience, I have found that often suffering (the continuation of pain and its seemingly endless and prolonged nature) occurs because we cannot get someone else to see our point of view. And then we persist in our mental stories of how things should have been, could have been, might have been if just ……

The pain ends when both parties are willing to stop the game of blaming.

So what have I found to be useful in dealing with and managing previous suffering is really recognizing what is really going on inside of yourself whenever the disagreement starts, exploring both within and out.

  1. Notice what emotions arise, and what internal reactions are being triggered by the other party. Yes their actions and words sting.
  2. Explore why they sting the way they sting. In the most generous intepretation, were they really behaving in how your mental story put them to be? Is this my issue, or theirs, or both?
  3. Go deeper. Staying present to what emotions or thoughts come up, just relax. What else comes up?
  4. How best can you respond to the other party? Do you have a part to play in this episode as well? Tell them how they have made you feel, and why.
  5. Hear them out. Let them respond.
  6. Exchange from a space of understanding (for self and for other)
  7. Resolution arises when the relationship can be renewed with an insight from the disagreement. No insight, no renewal, no moving forward from the hurt.

Its healthy to allow and accept all forms of crappy emotions to arise. So what if you’re angry, so what if you’re sad, so what if you feel rejected – its normal.

Emotions are the juice of human experience: feelings are our shared humanity.

Stay present to both yourself and the other party. You both are important in the relationship. Inquire with compassion.

Sure, it feels empowering to stay angry and hurt, and point fingers. It allows you to protect yourself and that is sometimes helpful. What is also important is mending the relationship. Take the step inwards, before taking the step forward.

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