A rather large man sat in his car. His window was slightly opened. He puffed his chest. Blew out a puff of smoke from his cigarette and looked at me. A short glance was enough for me to notice the emotional state he was in. He parked his car right behind my work car. I just came back from a short delivery in one of the nearest flats. It might have taken me 4 to 5 minutes to deliver the groceries and come back.
In that time the man drove up to my car and parked his right behind mine. There was no way for me to get out. I again looked at the man, seeing him, made my entire body shake. My face turned red, both out of anger and out of fear. Cheeks started to blush, and my body was heating up.
I placed all the leftover crates back into the car and I walked up to the slightly opened window. The man looked at me. Said nothing. He just stared at me. Just looking at him was enough to know that I shouldn’t start a fight with this man. “Could you move your car, please? So I can leave, then you can park your car right in this spot?” I politely asked him. Trying to hold in my anger.
“No, I won’t.” That was all he replied. I sighed. “Why?” I asked, a bit annoyed. He noticed my tone, and that was enough for him. A flood of stored-up anger that had nothing to do with this situation came pouring out of him. “You’re in the wrong spot kid! You’re in a disabled parking lot, so I called the cops. They are on their way. So no I won’t leave, you’ll have to wait for the cops.” I sighed again. Knowing that he was right, and yet at the same time, I know that I had no other option than to park my car there for just a few minutes to get the delivery done. I tried to explain myself to the man but…
Oh well, it just didn’t work. The man was caught in his anger. Furious at me. I wasn’t about to start a conflict. No use in wasting my energy on this. So I turned away and sat down. Grabbed my phone and called my supervisor. He sighed as well and said to wait for him before talking to the police. He hangs up and at that very moment, the wife of the man stepped into the car. They looked at me, she said something to him, and his face changed.
He was embarrassed. He turned on the engine and drove off. I closed my eyes. Shook my head and picked up my phone again. I called my supervisor and told him that everything was fine again. Just another man who doesn’t know what to do with his anger, and therefore starts to create conflict all around him.
Do You Disagree With Me?!
This is what happened to me this morning. A waste of energy. A man so detached from his emotions that he created a conflict out of a situation that didn’t have anything to be mad about.
That conflict made me feel uneasy. I was stressed, anxious, sweated like crazy, and felt the blood rushing through my veins. I was both angry with the man, as well as scared and startled by the event. This was something I hadn’t yet experienced in my life.
I truly wondered why we create conflicts like these? Both internally and externally. In this particular example, the man created an outer conflict for both himself and me. Yet this isn’t the only conflict we face in life. We do the same internally all the time. Creating inner conflicts with ourselves for no particular reason.
All these conflicts take away from feeling alive. What happened to me this morning took me out of feeling alive for a moment. I was about to feed the conflict and start a fight with the man. I didn’t. I had just enough energy, and awareness to back off, let the man sit in his own anger and frustration whilst I would calm myself down.
All the conflicts out in the world are first created internally.
Yet why did the man start this conflict? And why do we create conflicts within ourselves? All the conflicts out in the world are first created internally. Within our minds.
Most of our conflicts come about when there is a disagreement. When two people aren’t on the same page on something. Or when we aren’t on the same page with ourselves. It has everything to do with our relationships with ourselves and with others. Because for there to be a disagreement, there must be a relationship.
For a brief moment in our lives, the man and I had a relationship. Not a long, or intimate one, but a rather short one. In that relationship, I didn’t think it would be a big deal to park my car for just a few minutes in that parking lot. Yet the man had a different view. Our views were mismatched and created a disagreement.
That disagreement came about because the man didn’t have a regulation on his temper. This is often what creates conflict. The very fact that we are not aware of our emotions, and don’t know what to do with them. Therefore we reflect them out into the world through conflict with things and other humans. That’s why it is so important for us to understand ourselves, and know, how to feel what we feel without letting it be destructive energy.
It’s the root cause of why we aren’t feeling alive. Because we don’t know how to feel, and experience, without resisting what we feel, or using what we feel like a destructive energy.
Now a disagreement in itself isn’t a bad thing. This is natural and happens all the time.
Now a disagreement in itself isn’t a bad thing. This is natural and happens all the time. We can’t and shouldn’t be the same as everyone around us. We shouldn’t just agree with everyone, that would be seemingly impossible.
Yet creating a conflict out of a disagreement is a substantial waste of our lovely life energy.
A Massive Waste of Energy
What a waste of energy. That’s all I can think right now.
I think back to my teenage years, where it would be a weekly occurrence to start an argument with my dad about school. That argument always resulted in a disagreement and quickly lead to a conflict between us. All those years, week in, week out, creating conflicts has shown me one thing.
IT’S A MASSIVE WASTE OF ENERGY!
Every time a conflict with my dad ended I felt depleted, and I realized that all of it, didn’t change the situation a single bit. All we did was shout, create more friction, and completely lost sight of what was the point of the argument. We lost sight of finding a solution in order to prove ourselves right.
That’s how we waste energy in a conflict. You see a disagreement is fine, it’s okay to disagree, but creating a conflict out of it means either one of the two has to win. There has to be someone that’s right, and therefore the other is automatically proven wrong.
This fight within a conflict demands great amounts of energy from us. With no real return on investment.
This fight within a conflict demands great amounts of energy from us. With no real return on investment. Most of the time we never resolve the disagreement, or problem we had, we just give up when we are tired. This is why creating a conflict is a rather useless thing to do.
Because let’s look at this objectively. What happens when we start a conflict? Both internally or externally?
- Most of the time we get angry, or frustrated
- We feel a rush of adrenaline going through us, and our hearts start to pump faster
- Blood rushes through our body like crazy, activating the fight or flight defense mechanism
- We choose to fight, so we now have to pour energy into creating and coming up with arguments and statements
- Now we get further into the conflict and feel that we must prove ourselves right
- Demanding more energy to be able to keep coming up with different ways to prove you are right, or the other is wrong (which is seemingly the same thing)
And finally, you realize that either one of the two is right and the other is wrong, which then results in the realization that all of this was a waste of energy.
Or you both give up, knowing that there is no way either one of you is gonna win the conflict. Yet again both of you realize what a waste of energy this has been. Cause none of the two ways of conflict brings you any further into life.
Cause none of the two ways of conflict brings you any further into life.
It doesn’t improve the quality of your life, nor makes it an overall more enjoyable experience. Let alone that the relationship between you and the other person is declining as well through these conflicts. After the conflict, we often realize that the ship never left the harbor. We never went anywhere. Let alone did we reach our destination, which is that we resolved our conflict and sort of lived happily ever after, or at least that we are at peace.
A Ship That Never Left the Harbour
You see, this is often what we forget. That starting a conflict is for a purpose. The man, from the story I began this article with, had a purpose for his conflict. Only that goal of his was to just create a conflict. He wanted to punish me for parking my car in a spot that I shouldn’t have parked.
If we would be aware of why we started a conflict we would see that 9 out of 10 conflicts are this complete waste of time.
If we would be aware of why we started a conflict we would see that 9 out of 10 conflicts are this complete waste of time. After all, what did the man achieve with the conflict he created? Nothing at all. He only made himself angry, scared me a bit and that’s it. I didn’t get a ticket, nor did we get into a fight, simply because I backed off.
This is something we should always ask ourselves when a conflict arises. Both a conflict we want to start or a conflict someone else started. What is it we want to get out of this conflict? What’s the purpose of this conflict? If the answer is “just to have a conflict” or “just to express my feelings” that a great waste.
We don’t have to have a conflict, it’s useless. Neither do we have to express our feelings through a conflict. We can express our feelings in a grounded, loving, and mature way, without conflict. So, if the man that I met this morning would read this article, please next time think before you start a conflict.
The man had a grounded reason to tell me that I shouldn’t have parked there. If he did, I would have got the memo and wouldn’t have done it another time. This would have saved him a lot of energy and would have made both of our days a lot more enjoyable. But now the one question remains, how can we stop creating conflicts? And how can we manage those that are started by others?
Why Are You Fighting Yourself?
You see outer conflicts like the ones I shared with you aren’t the only conflicts we create. These are just a few. Maybe the tip of the iceberg. But think about this for a moment: how often do you find yourself fighting your own thoughts?
How often do you find yourself fighting your own thoughts?
It’s probably a lot. We all do at some point in our lives. This internal fighting with our own thoughts is just as much a conflict like the one in the physical world. These inner conflicts are the only reasons physical world conflicts exist. It is because we don’t know how to be at peace with an internal conflict that we start to create a conflict in the physical world.
That’s why we often aren’t able to manage conflicts in the physical world, cause we don’t know how to feel what we feel inside without going insane.
Let me give you a few examples of internal conflicts so you have a clear idea of what I am sharing with you.
- Getting angry with someone inside our heads, for example with your spouse or parents who did something you didn’t like, which made you angry. That anger is completely fine, till the moment you want to get rid of it or force it away. That’s when you create an internal fight between anger and peace.
- Doubting yourself, or negative self-talk. This is one that creates a lot of conflict for a lot of people. A lot of us, including myself, experience negative self-talk. We are told that we must love ourselves, and that’s the beginning of an inner conflict on this as well. Instead of just observing the negative self-talk, thinking nothing about it, and just realizing that these are only thoughts, we make these thoughts real. We create an enemy out of them, and then start to fight these thoughts. Which is the total opposite of loving ourselves. Now that’s another internal conflict.
Now, these are two massive examples, all of us have probably experienced. These are common ways of dealing with inner emotions, cause it’s the way we were taught. But that way is making you feel less alive. You are fighting yourself, which is yet again a fight without a clear goal. Your ship remains in the harbor. You fighting your thoughts is a vicious cycle that won’t end. In the end, it will numb you to the beauty of life as well. Making you angry with the world, pessimistic, negative, or numb.
Now that’s not how I want to live. I want to feel alive, so if you want to feel alive as well read this last bit. Let’s dive into how we can manage our inner conflict. (And therefore our outer conflicts as well)
Manage Inner Conflict
Conflicts arise when we either resist, feel the need to change something or hold onto it. In other words, when we aren’t at peace with what is, that is when conflicts arise. Now going along this cycle of fighting your conflict will only make things worse. So how do we manage our internal conflicts, like anger, resentment, or negative self-talk?
It isn’t by force, it isn’t by trying to change them, or resist them. You see this is what creates the conflict, this is what makes you feel exhausted and frustrated with yourself. Ultimately making you feel dull in life.
Fighting our negative self-talk, by saying that we should be loving ourselves, or by telling ourselves the opposite of the negative words we say, is just as much a form of negativity. When you tell yourself you are ugly, and you then say no I am not, you aren’t changing anything. You are just again negative towards yourself because you now, not just say that you are ugly, but you also say that your thoughts are wrong.
Or when you call yourself ugly you reply by saying I am beautiful. Still resisting that part of you that thinks you are ugly. Now we say that the part that tells us we are ugly isn’t part of us, but that’s not true. It is, it’s a hurt and broken part of us. That needs love. Not conflict. It doesn’t need to hear that it’s wrong, and it most definitely doesn’t need to hear that it’s beautiful.
Now we say that the part that tells us we are ugly isn’t part of us, but that’s not true. It is, it’s a hurt and broken part of us. That needs love. Not conflict.
Just like a kid that’s angry, the negative voice in our heads just wants recognition. A gentle arms around his shoulder, and a pair of loving ears. That listen and observe. That don’t seek to change him or her, or tell him or her what to do. But rather that we help him/her feel the anger, so that the anger is released and flushed away.
Now that’s how we manage inner conflict. We don’t feed the conflict by fighting it. We observe it as a loving parent would. We listen and see. With a loving pair of ears and eyes. We don’t seek to change what we observe, nor tell ourselves what’s best to do. We are just there for the inner conflict.
That anger, or resentment, or anything that creates conflict in you, is a part of you that hasn’t been loved. That is desperate for your attention. Give it that. Which doesn’t mean you feed it. It doesn’t mean you say, good job that you are angry, no that feeds the conflict. What we do is be there with the anger. We feel it, recognize it and tell it it’s okay.
Conflict means tension between two objects. Now by recognizing and observing the emotion we never create that second object with which the emotion can clash.
If we can learn to truly observe and feel what we are going through everything will flow freely through us. There won’t be a conflict. There will just be emotions arising. But there won’t always be conflict, cause conflict means tension between two objects. Now by recognizing and observing the emotion we never create that second object with which the emotion can clash.
Right, there isn’t a conflict. No inner fight. And this very same method can be used to outer world problems. Like my encounter with the angry man this morning. I didn’t feed the conflict, although I almost did, I just let it be. I observed what happened, and voila, in the end, everything was fine. The man left, just like our emotions leave, and we can continue our lives.
Continue Your Life
We can make far more of this beautiful life we are gifted, by learning to not create conflict out of anything. By learning that all emotions are worthy to be experienced. The difference is, that not all of them need to be expressed. They simply need to be felt.
Which is the entire point of living. To experience. Not to resist, or fight, or create conflict right? We live, to feel alive. We do so by releasing conflicts. Not by fighting conflicts or feeding them. I hold no resentment towards the man that I met this morning. He probably just had a bad day.
I won’t let the conflict ruin the rest of my day. I actually made rather good use of the conflict, by both laughing about is, and learning from it. Now that’s what I call making the most of every second. So please cease to create conflict by only observing. There is nothing you need to do, change, or get rid of. All is fine. All is what it should be right now.
Continue to live. Continue to feel alive, by feeling everything. Continue to remember that Today You Live! Make the most of it.