4 Steps To Successfully Navigate Emotionally Charged Challenges In Relationships
It is no surprise that when it comes to love and relationships all of our expectations come to the surface. Let me preface this with saying there isn’t anything wrong with having expectations.
Where the trouble usually surfaces is when we either, keep these expectations to ourselves and then assume the other person knows exactly what we are thinking and feeling or when our expectations are so far beyond reasonable that no one (including you) can ever measure up. Either way, these types of expectations (uncommunicated or totally offside/outrageous) often are the pre-cursor to relationship breakdown, relationship drama and relationship challenges.
When relationships get heated our reaction or response to the situation will either add to the heat and separation or it will unify and create a sense of calm. Here is how to navigate those waters a little more smoothly and with a lot more love and awareness.
How To Effectively Navigate Challenges In Relationships
1. Take Responsibility
If you react, take things personally or fly off the handle when someone gives you feedback (even if a big part of it is their “stuff”) your explosive reaction is the biggest hint that they touched on an element of truth, a part of yourself you are unresolved with. It is so much easier to react and take things personally than it is to take responsibility and own the parts of ourselves where we may hold shame, guilt about or the aspects of ourselves where our blindspots reside.
We all have blindspots and receiving honest feedback from others is the best way to bring those areas that are causing havoc on our psyche and outer world into our conscious awareness so we can make choices that are more in alignment with who we know we truly are.
Responsibility lays the foundation for peace.
2. Hear What Is Really Being Said
Hear what is actually being communicated instead of your version of what you think they are saying. We all filter the words we hear or see through our own lens of the world, through our own judgments and perceptions.
What someone says and what you hear are often two very different things. Clean listening is a skill that takes awareness and major willingness to build- and it absolutely can be done IF we put the ego aside and drop into our hearts.
They Say: I felt unheard or rejected when this happened between us.
You Hear/Make it mean: I am a horrible person, they don’t love me, they are disrespecting me or any other disempowered version of interpretation.
Then we react to what we heard not neccessarily what was said. To navigate this challenge we must bring more awareness to our listening. As we begin to distinguish what was said VS what we heard or made it mean, we can then RESPOND to the actual communication and often can hear the underlying pain point that is wanting resolution.
3. Give Up Being Right- Choose Peace and Happiness Instead
No matter what the given circumstances, we know the exact things (pain points of the other) we can say to get a rise out of the other person and make a strong argument why we are right and they are wrong.
Being defensive is the way in which we keep the desire to be right in place. In this model of relating inevitably one person has to win and the other looses-which isn’t exactly feel good material for deep relating. Healthy relationship dynamics encourage situations where both people walk away feeling expansive and better off.
The ego/victim within never wants to admit shortcomings or even entertain the thought of possibly having made a mistake or that there are actually areas of growth to level up into.
Feedback from another person, especially someone we love, is an access point to creating more alignment, more harmony, and more connection- IF we get out of our own way.
When we see every experience and circumstance as an avenue to get to know ourselves better we become free from the lower level drama and shit-slinging battles many relationships are made of.
Someone has to put down the sword before the fighting can end. With two people on guard, there is no space for peace. In this case, it is essential to ask “Would you rather be right or happy?” then choose your actions accordingly.
4. Expect Positive Intent
Now, not everyone who gives you feedback along the way has positive intentions, but many do. Often the reason why we give feedback to someone we love, is because we love them and we can see things that might be blindspots in their awareness, things that would allow them more freedom, success, abundance, happiness and love.
Not sharing feedback is the biggest insult of all, because it unconsciously says: “I don’t think you are strong enough to hear my truth, and I certainly don’t relate to you as someone who is capable of changing and evolving into your best version”. This is what goes on underneath our communication and behaviour when we choose to withhold truth.
So how to get around this?
Start building the mental muscle to remind yourself when anyone gives you feedback it’s because they care and want you to become an even more kick-ass, high vibin version of yourself. It really doesn’t matter if that is actually their underlying intention, you incorporating this belief system leaves YOU feeling better, more expansive and open to change.
Also it’s a really great avenue to avoid the whole “I take everything waaaaaay to personally” mechanism and replace it with something far more constructive.
The funny thing is when we hear, see or read things and think “oh is this about me?” it often is. Maybe that isn’t the intention of the person delivering the communication but if it strikes a chord with you, that is happening for a very important reason- it’s giving you the free will opportunity to learn who you are on a deeper and more profound level.
Our shadowy bits are just as much a part of us as the blissful awesome qualities. Disowning the darkness doesn’t make it go away- it just makes it stronger and potentially more destructive.
What NOT To Do When Conflict Arises in Any Relationship
1. Don’t go and talk to everyone else but the person you need to talk to.
If you do need to get your head on straight, share with someone who has the capacity to be objective and who won’t think anything less of either party involved.
Many people don’t do this, hence, the world of gossip develops. Talking to everyone but the person who you have the issue with keeps you stuck in victim mode, keeps you in a vibration where you are re-living and re-charging the incident and anchoring in more anger, aggression, drama, sadness, disappointment, and fear into your psyche AND into the psyches of everyone you recount the story with.
2. Don’t stuff it down and pretend it doesn’t exist.
Suppression and repression only toxify your body, mind, and your future. When you stuff something down or diminish it, there is nowhere for it actually to go. Not dealing with upset is a sure way to guarantee massive breakdown later on down the line. It has to come out somehow or someway.
3. Don’t take shit out on people who have nothing to do with it.
When we suppress and repress our emotions and truth that energy needs avenues to release. When we keep shit on lockdown the suppressed energy tries to escape anyway it can. Meaning you’ll likely take things out on people who have nothing to do with the source of your pain and that does no one any good.
Relationship Conflict Is An Access Point To Deeper Connection
There is nothing wrong with standing your ground, speaking your truth and standing for someone else’s greatness and your own. Telling the truth, while it sometimes stings, is freeing for both people. When someone in your life gives you feedback on your relationship there are so many benefits:
It frees you up to resolve what’s there which allows you to be present with others in your life who are also important.
It frees you up to express your truth (respectfully).
It frees you up to know them on a deeper and more intimate level.
It frees you up to embody forgiveness, RSL, and compassion.
It frees you up to own parts of yourself that you may have disowned or tried to avoid.
It frees you up to be MORE of who you truly are.
So the next time conflict arises, remember you and your partner are on the same team and then let it grow you in the most exceptional and self-loving ways. You are so deeply capable of making this magic happen.