Remember your goal isn’t to defend your position, your goal is to move out of the conflict

reminderTwo friends are having a falling out. One has lived in the other’s home rent free for a year. They no longer have fun sharing space. Both want to be free of the situation.  Both have posted snarky comments on Facebook about the other.  They’ve gotten wrapped up in the drama playing out to their FB friends and began to lose sight of what they really want.  Both understand metaphysical principles, yet in the heat of the moment it’s easy to forget what you know.  It happens. That’s an ongoing part of the spiritual path: we have a revelation, we understand, we forget, then we get the same lesson over and over until we remember again. That’s why it’s called the Path of Return.  So, instead of having a discussion with each other and setting boundaries, each for awhile chose to act at home as though nothing was awry, while smack talking the other on FB.   I recognized what was happening when I saw the news feed. Each contacted me after I’d commented on their post. I reminded them of what they really wanted, to be free of the other with a new living situation. The process to do that was:
(1) intentionally finding something else to focus on.
(2) Stop focusing on what the other was doing and saying.
(3) Take steps to move forward on their own, without waiting for the other to take steps.    

For one, that meant finding a new home.  For the other, it meant readying their home with fresh energy: clearing new space and organizing storage. For both, it meant recognizing they were misguided in their perceptions.

Something like this doesn’t happen overnight. At some point, it stopped being mutually fun, yet no one spoke up. At some point, familiarity began breeding contempt, yet no one spoke up. When they began speaking up, instead of doing it with each other, they did it on Facebook, eventually blocking each other. This is what happens to well meaning friends who’ve never been taught how to communicate and work through conflict.

As a journalist and as a spiritual seeker striving for transparency, I’m all for living an open life and letting Facebook in on my daily journey. That’s how I discover if I am who I say I am. I spent a year once wasting time being irked at someone who loved having power over my mood. All I had to do was focus elsewhere rather than respond to every shenanigan, but it took me awhile to remember that. As soon as I remembered, I was free.

When friends have disagreements and are hurting, miscommunication happens. I’ve learned if I write out what I want from the other, there is much less misunderstanding. I suggested the landlord leave a note telling the tenant exactly what she required of her.  Long story short, what the tenant read was not what the landlord wrote. Angry eyes read words that are not there.  She wasn’t doing it on purpose out of hate. It was a natural reaction to someone seeing no other way out and not eager for change. When tempers are hot, my experience is it’s a good idea to email rather than talk. If a civil conversation can’t be had without one blowing up, emailing your side of the story can clarify a situation.

After the note, they spoke and a lot of the tension dissipated.  A dialogue has been opened. When you find yourself in a situation like this, ask for the grace to open your heart, your eyes and your mind to see a way out of the tension. All things are possible.