Can we Make Space to Repair Conflict?
In a world full of “I told you so” and worse, is it a wonder why people double down on their position, even if they may *want* to change their mind?
Let’s face it, collectively we lean into shame and blame of ourselves and each other. If there are no clear pathways to course-correct—no space for repair—then how can we expect anyone to evolve or change?
Being able to acknowledge our own harmful behavior, our ill-informed position, or our plain stubbornness and attachment takes a tremendous amount of self-worth. And the fact of the matter is the average person walking around doesn’t have that. Our worth has been whittled away by years of individual, familial and societal programming. Not to say that we can’t override that programming, of course! (After all, that’s the basis of my work.)
Our self-worth and our ability to course-correct gets set up through our earliest childhood discipline, among other things.
Defensiveness is a reflexive response to feeling shame. What if from an early age we were taught that if we made a mistake, we could repair the harm done without fear of punishment? We would still be held accountable for our actions, but in a way that actually supported a change in behavior without damaging our worth.
As parents, we have the potential to alter the consciousness of the planet by how we raise our children. We can teach them healthy pathways to repair conflict. We can teach them that it’s not only okay to be wrong sometimes, but it is expected. We can teach them how to apologize and multiple ways to course- correct.
Of course, it’s hard to teach these things when you didn’t learn them yourself (and you still struggle with them). In fact, sometimes it’s our kids that are teaching US these lessons. But it’s not too late. Be open to listen. Be open to learn. Look for teachers, guides and resources that can support you in this work.
For most of us, it is actually in our nature to want to resolve conflict within ourselves and society, but we just don’t know how and our self-worth prevents us from getting support.
Ah, the vicious cycle of the human psyche!