Ending Personal ConflictApr 13, 2023
Today’s episode is all about creating more love in your life and less conflict, especially when it comes to ending personal conflict.
We all want less conflict in our lives and less conflict in the world, but that desire often feels out of our control. It’s easy to feel like the amount of love we get or the amount of conflict we experience is up to other people and their choices.
But the truth is that you have no control over the amount of peace and love in other people's hearts.
Everything we feel—whether it’s love or hate or anything in between—is always up to us. And I want you to know that you are your own peacemaker.
If we want to have less conflict and more love in our lives we can. We just have to know how to do it.
Ending personal conflict
For so many years as a follower of Jesus Christ, I knew I wanted to love people better. I knew I should love people better. I knew I should be choosing love. That was the ideal. I wanted that in my life, but I just didn't know how to do it.
No matter how hard I tried, and no matter how much I tried to control myself and change my ways, it never made a difference. I always ended up back in anger and criticism.
If I had a magic wand and could use it to change anything, I just wanted to be able to love better.
These are some of the things that have allowed me to change that in my life.
Take ownership of your choices
If you really want to decrease the amount of conflict in your personal life and increase the amount of love and peace, it all begins and ends with agency.
You have to know that, deep down, your thoughts are the only thing creating your feelings.
Love is not something that happens to us. Anger, conflict, contention, irritation, frustration - none of these things happen TO us. They are always created by our thoughts.
It’s easy to create feelings of love when we are around people that think and act like we do.
But we live in a world where people don't have opinions like ours or behave in the ways that we think they should. Our brain interprets this and creates thoughts that lead to feelings like irritation, anger or even hate.
The way to feel more love is not by waiting for other people to change so that it’s easier for us to love them.
The key is to use awareness and curiosity to look at your own thoughts. What is creating the emotion, the conflict? When you can find the thought underneath the feeling, you have the power to change it.
Owning your choice is about empowerment, not shame
As soon as you get mad at yourself for having the wrong kind of feeling, you lose your awareness and your curiosity.
Your brain isn’t always going to choose love. In fact, it will usually offer you the opposite of that.
You are a human being, and sometimes you’re a human being in a model that doesn’t feel good, that feels like conflict, irritation or anger. You aren’t bad or wrong. It is just a part of being human.
There is always another choice to make. You can tell yourself, “it’s okay that I chose irritation/anger. I’m allowed to make another choice anytime I want.”
We’re here to practice.
It starts with your relationship with yourself
For so long, I kept thinking that I couldn't like myself until I treated other people better. I thought I needed to stop being angry and critical and be more loving before I could like or love or approve of myself.
But as long as I was having that personal conflict, it was impossible to love other people.
I am convinced that the way you treat others is a direct reflection of the way you're treating yourself.
You need to stop trying to fix yourself and your actions, and you need to start thinking about yourself differently.
What do you think about yourself when you make a choice you don't love? What do you think about yourself when you choose negative emotion?
The way to love is by first feeling bad
Choosing peace and love is not about pretending. We can’t ignore the bad feeling, cover it up and pretend that everything’s fine.
You have to allow yourself to feel the negative feelings first. Because when you get into your body and really feel that conflict or anger or irritation, there is a moment when you can recognize that you are the creator of that feeling.
When we try to ignore it, our brain still believes it is being created by the other person.
Instead of avoiding that discomfort, invite yourself to move towards it.
Release ownership of other people’s choices
Conflict comes down to the wrong ownership. We're having conflict because we aren't taking ownership of our own choices and we're caught up in other people's business trying to take ownership of theirs.
I want you to notice that when there is conflict, almost every thought you have is some version of “They are doing it wrong”.
Your brain wants to think that you are right and they are wrong. That their choices, their way of doing it is dangerous to you in some way.
If we can release the ownership of that and stop thinking that we have a right to decide the choices that they should make, it can immediately decrease the amount of conflict we have.
They get to choose how they think and feel and act.
The key to having more love and less conflict is to own your own choices and release other people to choose for themselves.
This is the work that we are here to do - to learn how to love and how to choose love over everything else. But it is not easy for any of us.
You have a human brain that is always looking for danger and threats. So the work is to constantly come up against your brain offering all the threats, the conflict and the thoughts that are creating all the negative emotion. And in that moment, bravely choosing something else.
Love is always an option. It is the hardest choice we all make. But it is the one that brings the most reward.
- The true source of conflict
- The key to less conflict and more love in your life
- The first relationship to look at when you want to end personal conflict
- What to do when you slip up and don’t choose love
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