Resolving conflict, seeking compassion and peace.

Leila Raven Post in General

It is challenging to see conflicts arising around one at times. Conflict is everywhere, and the online forums I belong to are no exception, I notice conflicts between people online all the time, and have had a few of my own, despite my best attempts to create peace and harmony in my life and to avoid conflict.

What is challenging for me is often I feel the conflict that arises is so completely unnecessary, it seems to be often just the assumption or habit people have, that wherever there is dis-agreement, there must be conflict. So when people who have differing views connect, they often feel that others are engaging in conflict with them, when in reality the ‘conflict’ is created by the choice to have a negative emotional response to having a differing opinion than another, not from the differing of opinions themselves. It is possible to have oppositional beliefs and not have feelings of conflict.

If instead when we met people who have different beliefs, opinions, and feelings than us, we simply accept this intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, as their equally valid right to their beliefs as we have to our own beliefs, conflict would never arise, despite the disagreement.

Often what I see is people agree with this concept, but still they have a blind spot to their own judgmental behaviour. They seem to see their beliefs around some things as some special exception to this process. They allow themselves to still feel threatened in some way by those whose beliefs differ, and of course, if who we’re asking is ourselves, we’re always going to agree that we’re right. 😉

I find this feeling of needing to defend one’s opinions as right, and putting down then the opinions of others, often has arisen because the person themselves feel they are being judged and are coming from a place of emotional upset over this. Since they feel they are the ones being attacked, they are the ones with the controversial belief, they lash out at those they feel are judging them. Problem is, the person on the other side of the fence is often having the same experience. Sometimes no one meant to judge anyone, and just expressing their differing viewpoint caused that feeling of attacking/defensiveness to arise. Feeling like since the other persons reality is in conflict with theirs, that the person themselves is in conflict with them.

Vicious cycle. Everyone feels judged, everyone feels attacked, everyone feels right, everyone feels bad. Conflict.

People often underestimate the power of their words, they are too busy focusing on their own feelings about how others words are affecting them, and how life is treating them, to think on how their words are affecting others, or how they are treating others in turn.

We often feel people are against us, or against our beliefs, and assume that means therefore against us, when they speak beliefs in opposition to our own, but we must realize this is a fallacy.

Choosing our words carefully so that we don’t devalue other peoples beliefs when we share our own is one way to prevent this misunderstanding and people feeling attacked to happen. Most of the time, the intention was not one of judgment, but just freedom of expression, something we all seek. It also helps, to when in doubt, assume people have the best of intentions, and not the worst of intentions, behind their words.

We cannot allow the fact that people have opposing beliefs make us feel devalued, or we fall into a spiral of everyone feeling devalued for we as a population will always have diversity of beliefs. This diversity of conflicting beliefs needs to be seen as a positive, and not a negative, we all wish to have free will to believe what we wish don’t we?

We don’t feel threatened when a child believes in santa claus and we do not, we would never attack that child’s beautiful belief in Santa, so why would we trash the beliefs of other adults that we do not share? Because we have allowed ourselves to feel compassion for the child, and we do not ourselves feel threatened by their beliefs. It is only when we allow our own beliefs to feel threatened and to move away from compassion and into judgment that we often then feel the need to put down, or ‘challenge’ the beliefs of people whose ideas differ from our own. Sure, sometimes this kind of dialogue and co-challenging of beliefs is sought after, but I’m not talking about the polite respectful exchange of differing beliefs, I’m talking about the personal attacks we can all recognize when we see them.

In fostering compassion, it can help to remember, you are only seeing a small part of the people around you. These are real people, with real lives you can only begin to imagine. We don’t know what trials and tribulations that they are currently facing or have faced, we don’t know what private burdens they are carrying. One thing I know for sure, is we are all the walking wounded in this world. We all face stress, judgment, pain, burdens, losses, fears, hopes, desires, worries, needs, challenges, illness, abuse, deaths of loved ones, struggles of all kinds, and we are all imperfect beings in an imperfect world filled with challenges. If we knew each persons life story as well as we knew our own, compassion would come easy, we would have compassion for everyone, because we would understand their beliefs and their actions in the context of their lives.

We all have a tendency to stand around thinking, well if you only knew what I knew, experienced what I’ve experienced, then you’d know I’m right… and you know what, we all are, right in that perception.

We’re right for where and who we are right now, wherever that may be. We’re seeing the world as we are, through the personal lens of self, that is what we are meant to be seeing, and being.. ourselves, with our own self beliefs. That feeling you feel of knowing what you know… we all have that, we just all have a different knowing. So who has the real deal ‘truth’, we all have the right truth for us, that’s the beauty of it. If you want the right to keep your own beliefs and your own truths, you have to let go of hypocrisy and allow every other being to have their own beliefs and their own truths. Otherwise you are fighting against your own freedom. We are all connected.

When I see an angry person, I try to remember they are angry for a reason, it doesn’t justify hurtful behaviour towards me, and out of self love, I will move out of harms way when people are doing things I feel are harmful to me. However, that doesn’t mean I cannot have compassion for them. I know I have also had had times in my life where I was angry and may have been hurtful, unintentionally or intentionally, and I so embrace that empathic feeling for them and foster a sense of compassion.

Why choose to try to foster compassion? When your emotional reaction may sometimes be that someone is ‘undeserving’ of compassion? Because it will bring you peace, compassion is not just for the benefit of other, but also for great benefit of self. It dissolves the feelings of conflict within. When I choose to step away from my own negative emotions, and allow myself to move into a place of compassion, into a feeling of love and acceptance, and away from judgment, I move into a place of peace and joy. I may or may not be able bring peace to the situation with my feeling of compassion, but regardless, I have brought peace to myself.

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