Reverse the Coin to See Compassion Not Conflicts
The uncertainties continue to prevail. Most of us may feel we’re giving our best to adapt with the changes, but we might be overlooking the impact this situation is bringing to our mental health and reflecting in our behaviors.
I was crossing the street the other day, while I heard a person speaking loudly over the phone. He was walking a few steps ahead of me to reach the parking lot. Though I didn’t make any additional efforts to overhear, the unintentional chaos in his speech made people around look back at him. Why?
It wasn’t clear who was he speaking to but he was furious over some blunder, and he lashed out. Holding a bag of groceries, he soon reached his car. I got into my car and silently saw his driving off. He was still on the call – yelling.
A few days later, I came across a couple walking down in the neighborhood park. They both were busy telling each other who was doing a better job at home. I cook, do the dishes, take care of the kids, and then work on my PC every day- the woman said …I do what’s in my scope…. replied her husband…and then… the arguments slowly faded off my ears because I changed my walking track.
While I had still been collecting my thoughts on the new kind of conflicts that seem to arise for individuals, I read some stories across social media channels on how self-isolation is telling on the relationships due to conflicts all around. being constantly surrounded by family members these days, many people may also be finding an invasion into their privacy.
All of this together makes me think, along with you, isn’t the lockdown causing the conflicts to increase? And, aren’t many of us ending up either burying or exploding? Let us take a deeper look as conflicts call for greater attention now – making it inevitable for us to resolve them before they begin to affect our mental well being more severely.
Understanding Conflicts and How They Reflect
Human beings have an inherent tendency to avoid conflicts. On the other extreme, they may end up catalyzing conflict in the garb of resolving them. Conflict resolution is a mindful practice. It can never be a random act or attempt. Those who are self-aware, know how to actively listen to others, and practice emotional intelligence to resolve conflicts, effectively.
In the current situation, many of us are struggling to mindfully address or respond to conflicts at work or home. However, in the absence of complete self-awareness, we often end up with more conflicts or choose to learn to live with them. Let us see if you can identify yourself here, see it as a self-reflection, and identify where do you see yourself in the continuum? Indeed, there is no right or wrong. It is about identifying yourself.
Take the First Essential Step: See If you Play Any the Following Roles?
- Victim mode – complaining. The behavior of avoidance/ignorance out of fear.
- Dominated – Fear of losing out, insecurity, and fight to look at narcissist leaders.
- Rationalizing Mode – To keep the cool and peace. The behavior of avoidance and compromise. Wearing a façade/mask.
- In fixing mode – Always taking the responsibility of the problem with an empathic response
- Collaboration – Looking for a win-win- separating the problem from the behavior
- Fearless Mode – You are fearless irrespective of the outcome
Identifying yourself against one of these will help you in identifying your role and unintentional contribution in either causing or aggravating conflicts
Understanding Compassion and How it Relates with Conflicts
It has been proven that “miscommunication” remains one of the prime triggers of conflict. These can be in the form of the wrong choice of words, biases at the end of the recipient, lack of active listening or assumptions, etc.
Additionally, miscommunication and conflicts happen when we fail to recognize facts and act based on opinions or biases alone. It is important that, before reacting to something which looks offending, unpleasant, or unacceptable, we make a sincere attempt to think rationally and look at the emotions that are triggering them.
Our biases are stemmed from insecurities, fears, etc. In the absence of compassion. You either we fail to empathize with others or we fail to see compassion in others for us.
Compassion is an act of courage and empathy. It is about being one with the other person’s emotions rather than judging them. You do need the courage to feel this, and compassion doesn’t mean you don’t value your emotions.
Stephen Gray Explains in his research, meanwhile explains compassion corresponds to empathy not sympathy. It relates to a feeling of sorrow and is largely impersonal, empathy creates a far more effective connection between two people who understand and recognize each other’s emotional state.
Dr James Doty, Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and Director of the Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, describes compassion:
“Fundamentally being compassionate or caring for others is our default mode and that often especially in modern society we get distracted from who we are.”
Dr. Doty also explains that for many of us the true nature of reality is blurred by judgments, beliefs, and biases but when we realize our connection to others and recognize that everyone suffers then our capacity for compassion increases. Unfortunately, though, modern society has evolved exponentially faster than our ability as species to evolve to respond to it.
How Compassion can Help in the Current Situation of Lockdown
A research published in the International Journal of Psychology suggests that a compassionate lifestyle may improve longevity, which may be because it provides a buffer against stress.
People who practice compassion present with a calm mind, and hence, a better physical and mental well-being. They lead longer and healthier lives. The present situation of crisis is already impacting our mental well-being by inducing fears and concerns.
In the absence of compassion, those emotions and feelings may increase anxiety, miscommunication, conflicts, and eventually descending health.
Another reason compassion may boost our well-being is that it can help broaden our perspective beyond ourselves. Research shows that depression and anxiety are linked to a state of self-focus, a preoccupation with “me, myself, and I.” When you do something for someone else, however, that state of self-focus shifts to a state of other-focus.
Compassion will work for you when you mindfully practice it in situations of conflict. The moment conflict happens, you sense it, steer your attention towards how you can be compassionate with the other person. Try to see through the emotions rather than judging or labeling the behavior.
Making Compassion Work Using the 3 Ds
1. DECODE the Conflict : Identity what problem are you trying to solve?
2. DARE to Engage :Identifying what’s the loose end for you and what’s stopping you from opening a chat?
3. DIFFUSE with Dialogue : Showing the courage to solve by speaking up rather than reprieving.
Compassion is a sincere practice of differentiating between the realities and perceptions and, acting on the former. Unfortunately, as humans we are mostly driven by the perceived realities that are fueled by our cognitive biases. In the absence of compassion, we are quick to blame others and entangle ourselves into conflicts.
Let your stress and emotional rundowns not rule you towards illness or resentments, especially, when you are confined to the home and surrounded with unexplained challenges these days. Make a choice.
If you’d like to learn more about the subject or you’re seeking any assistance on practicing compassion or emotional intelligence, this is an area where we can help. Reach us here: firstname.lastname@example.org.