Part 3 of 11 “10 WAYS TO BE REAL IN SPITE OF CONFLICT”
Last week we addressed the healthiness and necessity of how to resolve conflict. As we embrace the reality that conflict is inevitable for growth, we now attend to the 2nd of 10 ways to be real in spite of conflict.
BE CURIOUS ABOUT DIFFERENCES RATHER THAN DEMAND, JUDGE, OR CRITICIZE YOUR PARTNER.
- Avoid “why” questions. It puts the other person naturally in a mode of defensiveness. When we become defensive, the part of our brain that is on the alert tells us to fight, flee, or freeze. It’s the same part of the brain that doesn’t know the difference between past and present. It only knows danger or safety. “Why” questions give messages to our brains that say, “You’re not safe. If you don’t do something fast, you’ll die. Don’t trust. Run quickly. Fight back, or freeze. What ever you can do, just get ourself outta there!” Of course this is illogical thinking and we’re not even aware of this being conscious thoughts.
The neuropathways connecting the automatic functions of the brain controlling heart-rate and blood pressure are, in that millisecond instant, not connecting with the reasoning gray matter. The area of the brain that takes over is considered the reptilian, primitive part of the brain which includes the brain stem.
We are in essence acting like reptiles when we get reactive! The “why” questions invites reptilian reaction from our partner.
- Instead say, “I’m curious about such and such. Would you tell me more?” Be genuinely curious. Realize your perspective is not the only one, nor is it the only right one even though you may think it is.
Human beings are the only “species” whose left hemisphere gray matter activates logical patterned thinking that believes they are absolutely right. For many, the left hemisphere is over-activated to falsely believe in it’s own rightness with the exclusion of greater truth or openness for challenge of false truths. When the left side is not well integrated with the right intuitive side, relationship with another is challenging due to lack of empathy and openness.
Choose an attitude of curiosity to invite healing, connection and openness. Avoid “why” questions that imply criticism and judgment. Be intentional about making a pathway of safety and openness for your loved one!
Next blog will cover # 3 of 10 ways to be real in spite of conflict. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts.