Last week, I discussed the idea of “venting” and some suggestions of better ways to tell your story to others, be heard, and how to really listen without trying to “fix.” One point was that it is important to let a listener know when we are just wanting to talk something out rather than asking for a solution. A second point was how important it is to be a sounding board for someone to talk out a problem and come to their own solution. It helps us get perspective on a problem to hear how something sounds out of our heads.
While these techniques are great skills for communicating with others about conflict and emotions, they are also vital for dealing with our own INTERNAL conflicts and emotions.
What would it be like to treat ourselves the way we want others to treat us when we have a problem? If we got quiet, focused, took time to listen to our own inner dialogue, really paid attention with love and respect for the storylines we tell, and then, just sit with those thoughts and feelings? No contradictions, no attempts to fix or solve, or change, no deprecation and no attempts to stop the flow, no matter what is coming out. Just sitting with our stories and our conflicts, some which are truly challenging with no clear “right answer” and some where as soon as we listen to ourselves become clear as day. What would it be like to not try and “fix” our emotions or stop feeling but really just be with them the way we wish our friends and loved ones could? What if the people we loved the most didn’t try to stop us from feeling by “fixing” or offering unasked for “solutions?” What if we loved and respected ourselves enough to just…feel?
Sometimes, we just need to vent and sometimes we need to wallow. If we do so mindfully, not just railing against the world, but with respectful and compassionate focus, our emotions can have their time, wash over us like a wave and then, often, clarity can come more easily. If we fight ourselves, or try to “stuff” or “fix” our issues without this mindful compassionate respect, the “solutions” are usually half-formed and without depth. As HIQ people, we often buy into the narrative that smart people should be able to fix things without help and without emotion. That myth is a damaging one. Emotions are informative and sitting with feelings and listening to them is a better way to help them move through us and not get stuck.
How do you show compassion and respect to yourself and your conflicts? I’m curious how you deal with inner conflicts of this nature and if you find listening and giving some space to your emotion a good way to find a healthy solution or not. Comment below.