This has been an especially challenging year emotionally. In January, I tried to help my family with the legal, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of my mother’s declining health, only to be pushed out of the decision-making process and caused to question whether I was indeed the horrible person I was alleged to be. In February, my mother died before she was transferred to a nursing home against her will. Through March, I have had a series of personal attacks by judges and opposing counsel that violate the Rules of Civility, if not the Code of Professional Responsibility, but that I typically dismiss so I can focus on bigger issues. Now is not a time when I can always tap that level of forgiveness and focus.
Admittedly, after three 10-hour days at the rehabilitation center with my mother, I did not handle being verbally abused and physically intimidated well. I cursed at my brother-in-law because I didn’t know how else to get him out of my face. I showed a lot of restraint, but the years of holding my tongue and stepping over his nastiness toward me finally pushed through. I know better. When I held too much in as a teenager and young woman, the unresolved pains caused me to take a handful of pain mediation with a lot of alcohol. If I had not build my life separate from my sister and her husband, I might have considered the same “pain relief” earlier this year. But I’ve spent decades building a life that has me surrounded by love, support, and opportunity—a life I will not willingly leave. I want all of us to have that kind of life, even the people I don’t want to be around.
Likewise, I want good lives for the people I work with and around, and I know that is less probable, if I’m wishing bad experiences on them at the same time! When do I typically wish these bad things on people, or at least forget to send them love? When I am emotional. As many successful people have said, including Financial Guru Robert Kiyosaki, “When emotions go up, intelligence goes down.” I hate waste, especially wasted potential, so I remind myself of this often. It seems awfully wasteful to let my emotions erase five years of Catholic school education, seven years of public school education, six years of undergraduate college education, a semester of business courses toward a master’s degree, my law school education, and years of work and life experience! Sure, I can blame the people and circumstances around me at any given time, but does that make anything better in the long-term?
Ugh. We both know the answer—for all of us. We are responsible for how we deal with people and circumstances, or conflicts. I’m not a fan of shoving emotions down (which I did with food and alcohol in my younger years), pretending they aren’t occurring, or any other denial of our humanity. I encourage “conduitive living”, where we allow them to pass through, leaving the lessons or wisdom we need at the time(s). So, my next few posts will be exploring Choice #4 from my book, DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master: Free the emotions. We will look at three key places to do that effectively: at work, with loved ones, and alone (sort of).
Do you have any techniques you use? Or “horror stories” about emotions freed messily? Share them in the Comments below, and we will work through them together. Conflicts only seem bigger than we are because we are trying to resolve them alone. xo