Keep an open mind and heart

No conflict is ever isolated. All our past conflicts with that person, and our past experiences usually color our perception of that new disagreement. As we argue with our loved one, if in the past she’s been insensitive, we’ll automatically project that character flaw onto her. And it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.  We become entrenched in our own thinking; convinced that she’ll act as before. Then because we convinced ourselves, even if her words aren’t glaringly insensitive, it’s still easier to attribute her words and actions to the motives we assigned her rather than giving her a fresh start and perhaps needing to change our mind.

It’s difficult to change our mind about someone, but past mistakes should not determine future conversations. We must give her the benefit of the doubt that she’ll handle this conversation differently than previous ones. If we keep an open mind and heart, this will allow space for understanding and resolution to the conflict.

Why it’s important to face your past

All of us have painful experiences from our past, perhaps we were bullied at school, or lost a loved one, or even something as simple as a rude comment can be very hurtful Sometimes in our efforts to be strong and protect ourselves, we fail to process those experiences. At that time, we don’t have the capacity to logically reason through how we feel while we’re in those circumstances. So we batten down the hatches, and do our best to wait out the emotional storm.Then once it’s over, we do our best to forget it ever happened. We want to get on with our lives and avoid reliving the experience by dragging it up again after it’s over.

The danger in doing that is: all unresolved issues will come up again.

In order for us to be healthy, whole individuals, we need to work through our past and come to terms with it. That can involve having difficult conversations, confronting people from your past, or that could merely be you sitting down and talking about how you feel, what you experienced, and how you will choose to deal with the pain and baggage that created.

You may not have had control over those circumstances, but you have the control now to be strong and to face your past, and to not let it affect your future. This is a painful, difficult, and often ugly process. But you either avoid your past and become handicapped by it, or you face your past and become freed from it.

Les Miserables

The movie Les Miserables was extremely thought provoking.

I was struck by the fact that college boys were so moved by the thought of freedom that they were willing to die for it. These boys were fueling a movement, starting a revolution while in college.

These were mere boys by our standards. Boys who in our world, at this age are generally playing beer pong and sleeping through classes.

It’s not that college boys now aren’t capable of such bravery and resolve, but they haven’t needed to be. A pattern is seen in history where men are strong, and courageous fighting for things they believe in, and then men prosper. Once men prosper they start to become soft, and they become less vigilant in protecting their rights. Then they begin to lose what they worked so hard for (or their parents did). They then have to strengthen themselves, harden their resolve, and fight for what they believe in. This is the cycle.

Our generation of men have the ability to rise to the occasion, to fight with passion and conviction for what they believe in, but they’ve never been tested. So although we have more knowledge at our disposal, more technology and intelligence, we don’t showcase courage the way those men did during the French Revolution because our circumstances don’t force us to.

We should try to break the cycle and remain strong and courageous throughout good and difficult times. This seems like a better idea than just repeating history right?