Love, relationships and conflict

At the heart of the human experience is the need to feel loved, and to feel love for others. This connection in its multiple forms goes to the heart of our own identity. What kind of relationships? Better them to be healthy and meaningful, we wish….But in all cases, we tend to reenact the primal experiences we have had when children, (that is what we know, of course) and so our present relationships duplicate the anxiety and the pain and the difficulty of previous ones.

Here is the core of our situation: If each one of us has such a strong need to give and receive love, what are we doing when we sustain unhealthy connections that prevent and thwart our growth? Why is there so little love in the world?

It has to do with an imbalance between what we can give and what do we need…to keep the flow of connection alive. In healthier family systems, it is more important to be emotionally close, and resolve negative feelings with each other. It is also easy to admit when mistakes are made, feelings are hurt and situations demand a heartfelt apology…

In such a family, keeping well nurtured a member’s self esteem is more important than any single behavior, and each one of the members cares about keeping each other’s healthy feelings. Some individuals could even apologize for hurting the spouse’s feelings even if he believes the other person “should” have known better. One could decide that it is more important to be close to the loved one, than to be right. Educating the children in how do you resolve this right/close issue is usually essential for their future ability to build good relationship.

The primary factor in determining whether there will be trust, goodwill, and emotional closeness in a couple or family group is whether each person is convinced that the other cares not just about his or her own well being, but about the other person’s as well.  There has to be a perception that everybody’s feelings count and need to be taken care of, either them being adult or children.

The more family members have an understanding of the basic conflict style they use, the greater their chance of not acting them out in the relationship in a destructive way. If they know that there is a tendency to shouting, then they can establish ways of reminding each other that “here we care not to shout to each other, because we know how much it hurts.” This kind of shared understanding invites gently each person to take care of his/her own feelings and its management.

Relationships is the real way and a unique opportunity to understand ourselves in a new way, and to discover the best and most noble parts of ourselves. We are as trusting and caring in our lives as our past conflicts have been resolved, and the flow of care for each other has been maintained.

The reverse is also true, however. If we reject taking ownership of our own frustration and negative feelings, and blame the other person for how we feel and respond to her in a violent way, we stop the learning process and end up feeling angry, and often victimized. How we choose to deal with our own painful feelings from our past, as well as negotiate our present relationships, and how much we are able to love and empathize with another needs for love and connection, ultimately determines the outcome of the relationship, as well as our own spiritual and emotional growth.

Nora Femenia is a well known coach, conflict solver and trainer, and CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. Visit her blog and signup free to be connected to her innovative conflict solutions, positive suggestions and life-changing coaching sessions, along with blog updates, news, and more! Go now to Conflict Coach



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