There has been some pretty intense conflict happening in my family lately. Two parents and a teenager, each with different priorities and very strong opinions, trying to influence decisions that will impact all of us. We are all doing our best, but it is a messy process.
How do we respectfully listen to and honor another person's point of view when it feels threatening or plain wrong?
How do we advocate for our own point of view when we're afraid that it won't be heard, or will be outright rejected, by people who really matter to us?
How do we manage our well-being and emotions so we can stay present and not be overrun by fear?
These are essential questions for anyone who wants to create joy and connection, and the kind of thing I've been talking and writing about for years. It has been both frustrating and exciting to find myself needing to practice what I preach at a higher level than ever before.
I created an exercise for myself this week that I found helpful and wanted to share. It's a series of prompts to help clarify boundaries and commitments:
- What I am willing to offer you right now...
- What I am not willing to offer you right now...
- What I want from you right now...
- What I do not require from you right now...
Number 1 helped me recognize how much I want to give, and am able to give. It helped me connect to my love and commitment.
Number 2 helped me recognize the kinds of things I've done or felt pressured to do that don't feel good or right to me. Writing those down gave me permission to say no to those things in favor of my own values and integrity.
Number 3 made me realize how much I value the things my family members have to offer, and how much their good will matters to me.
Number 4 was a humbling reminder that my family members don't need to give me what I want just because I want it, and that I don't actually want them to sacrifice their own needs in favor of mine.
Overall, going through the exercise made me feel a lot more grounded, and has been helping me maintain a healthy sense of perspective.
Would going through an exercise like that be helpful for dealing with a current conflict in your life? If you try it, I'd love to hear how it goes. Or if this is something you'd like to be guided through, I'd be delighted to do that. Schedule a free 20-minute consult with me here.