Healing Prospective On Friendship

I thank God for my childhood friend. I have one best friend (other than of course, my husband). Actually, I show her more of the raw feelings than my husband because of our backgrounds. We can tell each other anything and have it not be a shock. We have seen every emotion in each other. We have gone through childhood, marriages and raising children to adulthood.

About twelve years ago, I got excited about positive thinking topics. I worked hard on self-improvement and saw results. It’s only been in the past four years that I’ve had difficulty keeping up with it. There are a variety of reasons for this. The kids are grown now. My father died. I’ve moved a couple of times and left my career. It takes time to build new relationships. What used to be seen as enthusiasm as a young person can be viewed as annoying as an older person. Trends change and opportunities become fewer.

At least one thing the people on my caseload appreciated was that they could talk to me about almost anything. They didn’t have to say what they thought I wanted to hear. If they were agitated, I would say, “It sounds like you’re having a rough day. Let’s talk about it.” They always left feeling better than when they arrived. I miss those conversations, too.

Church can be awkward sometimes because on Sunday mornings, people are in a hurry and have families that need attending to. If there are individuals who are feeling discouraged, those feelings may not be addressed and an opportunity missed.

Whether in positive thinking, healing or prosperity teachings, real life can sometimes be glossed over. Yes, how we react to an event can determine an outcome. No, Santa Claus does not deliver toys to every child in the world. No, not every person is healed. No, not every determined, hard worker will see their dreams come true or become wealthy.

Smiling, thinking positive and “fake it ’til you make it” will not take away the pain of crime, war, violence, disease, injury or oppression. Standing up for justice, action and change can.

I’m glad that I have a friend I can be real with and she with me. We laugh, cry, curse if needed (in extreme situations), sometimes all in the same conversation. There is no faking it. This may sound strange but in a way, God is part of the conversation. There is more healing taking place in that moment for me than any other setting.

Tips To Solved Your Conflict

When we’re in a conflict, we tend to think that the best way to resolve it is to stick with our point of view as strongly as possible. We’ve been taught that one of us is going to win and the other is going to lose, and we don’t want to be the loser. There’s often a feeling that losing means doom and so we fight desperately to keep to our position. Strangely, the reality is that this strategy doesn’t often work, especially if you’re trying to be part of a long-term relationship-be it romantic, business organization, parent-child, friend-to-friend, whatever.

What if there were a way that had a higher percentage of actually resolving problems and conflicts? There is! I learned it a long time ago. It comes from Process Work, developed by Arnold Mindell, Ph.D.-a kind of therapy I specialized in for a long time.

The “Three-Legged Stool” of Conflict Resolution

Think of a conflict as having three basic positions: my position, your position and the “objective observer” position.

In relationship conflict of any sort, your first job is to notice in which position you’re starting. Are you actually advocating for your own position-“My Position” or are you-without knowing it-advocating for the other person’s position-“Your Position” in the figure? How can you tell? Well, let’s say the conflict is between yourself and your partner about whether to buy a new car or a used car. Your partner wants a new car and you think you should save money and buy a used car. Your argument is that you need to save money for the future and for other things and that if you buy a used car, that money will still be there. In that case, you’re already in “My Position.” But if you’re saying, “I know you think buying a new car is better because it will last longer,” you’re in “Your Position,” that is, for the moment, you’re taking your partner’s point of view.Which position are you in now?

Standing for the Position You’re In

Whatever position you find yourself in, take it over as fully as you can. In the example above, “My Position” might be: “It’s important to me that we’re prudent around what we spend and take the long view. To think about our priorities, to think about what’s most important and less important.”

If you find yourself in your partner’s position, “Your Position” above, you can stand for that position: “I know you want to buy a car where you know it doesn’t have hidden problems that might end up costing a lot to repair.”

Helping the Other Person Stand for Their Side

If you find yourself in “My Position,” and you’ve stood for it, then it’s important to help the other person stand for their position, expressing it as fully as possible. You can start by asking the other person to tell you what they’re thinking or feeling. If they get stuck or are afraid they’ll get shot down, you can start them off by taking their position, as above.

Maybe your partner’s “My Position” would be: “I AM thinking about the future and about priorities! If we get a new car, it’ll last longer and we won’t have to spend money on either another car or on repairs. How about if we look into new cars, see how much they cost. And we can also think about what things we need to spend money on and make a budget.” Either you or your partner can express this position.

Anticipating the Other’s Concerns Helps with Relationship Conflict

Your partner can help her or his position by also taking your position and anticipating what your worries might be: “I know you’re worried that I might not be thinking about our future financial situation. That’s why I went through our IRA’s and our projected income for the next 10 years and have figured out what we have left over after regular monthly expenses.”

Switching Positions Helps with Conflict Resolution

With this three-position conflict resolution model (we’ll get to the third position below), you each switch back and forth between “My Position” and “Your Position,” continuing to express each position as fully as possible. You literally step in and speak as if you are your partner, and your partner steps in and speaks as if he/she is you. You each keep alternating between your own position and the other person’s position.

More and more information emerges, until the situation is deeply resolved. It’s important, when taking a position-especially the other person’s position-to really stand in the position and speak ONLY from that position. It can be tempting to be sarcastically in the other person’s position or to pretend to be in it while really coming from “My Position.” If you’re speaking from the other person’s position, really feel into it and, for the moment, speak as if you actually are the other person, or come from a place where you really relate to their position. You can do this by remembering when you’ve been in their position at some point in your life, or imagining being in it.

Objective Observer

The “Objective Observer” position can be really useful, too-for example, when you’re stuck and don’t know how to move further toward conflict resolution. You can each step outside yourselves and, in your imagination, “see” yourselves. Notice what you see and step in and be it. Maybe you notice that the “you” in front of you is feeling hurt and small. Rather than trying to counteract that and be strong, go back into yourself and really show how small and hurt you are, maybe by letting yourself cry or by rolling up into a ball, etc. Actually showing what’s going on can help, because, much of the time, we don’t see or hear each other’s messages if they’re too subtle. When we make ourselves more visible, the other person can react to what’s actually going on instead of what they imagine is going on. This often moves us toward resolution.

Using the Model For Inner Conflicts

This model works with inner conflicts as well as relationship conflict-times when you’re torn about something. First, figure out what the two polarized positions are. Notice which one you’re in right this second. Take that position strongly and deeply. Then literally step out of that position by moving your body over to face the first position. Feel into the other position and speak from it strongly and deeply. Keep going back and forth, trying to listen to each position. If you get stuck, or just need an overview, step into the Objective Observer position and notice what’s going on with each of the other positions. Then step in and-without judgment-do what you saw. This tends to help create solutions.

All About Listening

His Ability to Listen

Hearing and listening are two different things. You can hear a siren; you can hear your neighbor berating each other. Unless you are waiting for an ambulance or you are looking for another topic to gossip about, then you are not listening. Listening takes great effort. Whenever my wife and I are in the car that is when we have some of our best conversations. As she is talking, sharing with me her most life changing idea, then at a pivotal point in the conversation, she decides to invite my input by asking what do you think. At this juncture of the conversation will decide if I have a future with her or not. I need to choose my next words carefully. What if I were to say could you repeat what you just said honey, then that will prove that I was not listening. Where was I all along? How will she feel? Well for one she is going to internalize this issue by thinking that she is not important.

Work Environment

The same principle can be applied to the workplace. A good leader will always be a good listener. Imagine that one of your team members has a problem or an idea they need to share with you. So, this team member mustered up some bravery to reveal what is in their heart. After they are finished sharing, what you do next will determine your success in this company. If your response proves that you were not listening, and this is the culture you have created in your work environment, your greatest asset which is your team will no longer be a team or your team. Yes, both you and they will work in the same building, but you are no longer a team. Their priority is to do the bare minimum and to watch the clock.

John Maxwell illustrates it very well. As soon as the clock hits leaving time, the only thing you will see inside the workspace are papers floating in the air from how fast they left the building. If you should look through the window, there would only be leaves floating. You may wonder how come they can leave so fast, well that is because as soon as they arrive at work, they back their cars into the parking space. They are already thinking about leaving.

Steps To Good Listening

So how do you listen? As they are speaking, you want to be looking them in the eye or at whatever they are showing you. But do not steer. You want to be nodding your head where ever you can agree but not like a bobble head. Sometimes you can nod your head at areas that you do not agree; this does not mean that you agree with them. Instead, you are saying that you hear what they are saying and you understand. Use words like “yes” this will let your team know that you are listening. Ask question as they are sharing, this will confirm to your team that you are following along. Do not interrupt and take over the conversation. This is their moment allow them to run the show. If you must comment, start with words like, “so what you are saying is… ” but keep it brief. When they solicit your input or if you see a problem with the idea start with words such as what if we were to do it this way or that way so that… “ I must encourage you that you are not losing power or face by asking your team member what they think. Instead, you are empowering them and confirming to them that they are a valuable player.

At the end of this conversation, your team member will walk away thinking that you are the greatest leader. That you do care, and that they are in a place where they are valued. They will go the extra mile for you if needed; they will defend you if needed. They won’t even notice that there is a clock on the wall.