I had a fight with my wife last night.
It involved me arguing that you could cherry-pick the good parts out of an overall bad thing. That the good parts were enough not to “write the whole thing off.”
She, as you can guess, did not agree.
She came down like a hammer: when the bad parts are responsible for the deaths and serious harm of others, the “good” parts are just as dangerous.
Anyone who knows my wife knows she has VERY strong opinions. She is very clear and passionate about what she believes in. So it can be daunting to disagree with her.
But two things happened that night:
1. I was able to listen and actually hear her point of view.
2. I changed my mind.
See, the thing about living with crippling self-doubt and anxiety for so long is that it really interferes with our ability to figure out who we actually are AND it gets in the way of listening to others because anything that feels like conflict, feels like DANGER.
Conflict avoidance is a sign that love and care felt conditional as a kid. And love and care feels like air and water for the nervous system so we will do (or avoid!) ANYTHING to maintain it.
I was so grateful I had put in all the work I have last night.
I was able to listen to my (VERY passionate) wife without getting defensive.
I was able to take in that information and actually consider it without getting overwhelmed, or defensive (…ok, maybe for a minute…) or angry.
I was able to change my mind without feeling like I was losing myself.
I was able to connect with my wife without feeling like I was giving up part of who I am.
I was able to adopt a new mindset and know that changing and defining who I am is really important as I grow.
We all deserve this freedom. With our partner, our families, our workplaces, our friends, and OURSELVES.
When you think of conflict, especially with someone close, how do you feel?
You DESERVE to feel free and safe.