When conflict arises between us and another person, we typically focus on them as the source of our
pain/discomfort/triggers (they hurt me – they are the reason I feel the way I do). The intensity of our negative focus on their behavior not only disempowers us, it causes us to attract more of their negative behavior into our experience.
Conflict causes people to feel defensive and hurt, and the usual course of action is to try to convince the other person they are wrong and get them to soothe our discomfort. We believe if we can change how the other person behaves/thinks/understands the situation, then we will feel better. We need them to see and validate our pain in order for our emotions to feel justified.
It never works.
You can’t change your hairstyle by reaching toward the mirror with your brush. The reflection changes when you change.
Validation and self-soothing can ONLY ever come from ourselves (if we want true and lasting healing). Yet, when we feel hurt (or misunderstood) it is easy to make the other person and their behavior the object of our attention. Our energy is drained in the process and we are left feeling powerless to take care of our own needs.
Similarly, when others feel hurt by us, we easily feel their intense focus on our behavior, which usually causes us to do everything we can think of to make them feel better (rather than take care of how we feel). We think if we can convince them we didn’t mean to hurt them, or try to appease them by apologizing profusely, or jumping through whatever hoops they need us to in order to feel better – we will ease the discomfort we feel about their suffering.
It never helps.
In fact, often our attention toward making others feel better makes everything worse. When someone is triggered, any attempt to make them feel better is filtered through their trigger, which often only sets off more triggers. After doing everything in our power to make them feel better, we resent the fact that our actions only seemed to give them more ammunition against us.
For true healing to take place, we must give up our obsession with fixing the other person’s pain – only THEY can do that. All we can do is tend to our emotions and focus toward relief.
Ask yourself first and foremost, how you feel and what YOU need. Don't try to tend to the other person's needs when you haven't first accessed your own.
Do you feel hurt by their accusations against you? Do you feel guilty about perhaps speaking out of line or saying something you didn’t mean? Do you feel their trigger is totally out of context and has nothing to do with you? Check-in and access what is actually occurring on your end before you take any action step.
If a fight is breaking out in the moment, you can check-out and wait to address the issues when you feel ready. Acting out of pure emotion is usually never a good idea. Allow the energy knots to work themselves out in YOU and then let the course of action flow naturally from the energy release.
Once you have accessed the emotions you feel, ask yourself what you need to feel better. Do you feel you need to apologize? Often we apologize when we don’t feel we’ve done anything wrong -- we do it to make the other person feel better, and that will never be enough to heal their trigger.
Make sure you actually WANT to apologize and mean it sincerely. It is NOT your responsibility to take care of other people’s triggers or emotions – that’s their job. Your job is to take care of yours. Immediately jumping in to rescue others from their pain only gives them the message that it’s your job, often fueling the belief they have of being emotionally incapable.
Take whatever action steps you feel are right for YOU, then try this small meditative affirmation to redirect your focus to an energy stream that fuels solutions, rather than the problem:
“I release myself from the focus of [name person] attention and allow them to feel what they feel and continue on their healing journey. I send [name person] a soothing balm to comfort the energy line of this particular stream of focus between us that I am now disconnecting from. I also release them from the focus of my wounded attention, and give myself balm of comfort and self-love where my trigger point ignited. I believe we are capable of taking care of ourselves and I feel the power of our self-love. I choose to see [name person] as powerfully FREE, capable of self-healing, and on the path of joy, as I Am. This is the only focus I will fuel between us at this time. Every other emotion that arises I will allow to flow without judgment or attachment. I am thankful for the opportunity this contrast has given us to grow in our own strength and wisdom. I am thankful for the lessons my emotions are teaching me. I am free.”
Keep your focus directed on self-soothing rather than fixing anyone or anything. Say this affirmation as much as you feel you need to – especially when your focus goes toward blame or victimization. This is true energetic alchemy.
Written by Amanda Flaker of Chakra Center