… about the way we sometimes tick

Usually we are all well balanced, mature individuals, in full control of our actions, choices and behaviour. We are well rested, content, with our batteries fully charged and energised, ready to face all challenges that the world might throw in our face. We are untouchable, unstoppable and nothing can get us out of our zen zone!

Until the moment, when within the fraction of a second, all that’s left to do, is look up and notice the atomic mushroom forming over our head. If this never happens to you, well done, but I am sure a few can relate. Out of the blue, amidst clear skies, such a catastrophe… I don’t know about you, but for me the catalyst is always that specific type of individual. We all have that one kryptonite coated guy, who can somehow magically see the invisible NUKE button on my forehead. And he gets out of his way to make sure he can push it. 

What to do? You start assessing the situation: ashes are falling around you and you feel your  adrenaline and cortisol levels skyrocket. The answer evolution gives us to stress is fight or flight. While useful when faced with a bear in the woods, what to do with this in a social environment? Do I fight? Keep carpet-bombing my environment and let all heads fall? Can be interesting, but highly counterproductive. Do I flight? Now here’s something! Why not? No harm done, I just walk away and act as if nothing ever happened.

Keeping sh*t in, has become the norm in conflict management. Better even, conflicts stopped existing altogether. We smile, we present our better self, mutter some superficial keywords learnt at our last conflict handling training and see about our days. After a while we might even believe, that this is the right thing to do. But what do we learn from it? Fake it ‘till you make it? In the best case that, in worst case not even that much… 

"Conflict is the beginning of consciousness."

- M. Esther Harding
© 2021 Albert Erika. All rights reserved.

To learn something about ourselves, we need feedback loops. When your button is too easy to push, tweak those springs in you mechanism, and adjust the force required to push it. No matter what profession you might have, I believe you can find a similar analogy. We never get things right in the first try. But what does this mean? It means we tweak, we go back, and we assess again our reaction in a similar situation. And tweak some more if required. While not easy, and sometimes feels like we just walk around with a big SLAP ME! sign on our backs, it’s the only way to bring ourselves to a level of consciousness, when kryptonite starts loosing its effect. 

Being in an I’m OK state of mind is much more fulfilling in the long run, than being in a NOT OK relationship with myself. You might put conflict away for the moment, but it will wake you up at 2AM over and over. Instead of spending the energy to keep it bottled down, consciously seek the opportunities, where you are able to tinker with your screws and bolts until that button cannot be easily pushed anymore. A pleasant by-product of this activity will be, that hobby button-pushers will just not invest the energy anymore and move on to easier targets, while you will realise that if you cannot change the environment or other individuals, you always have a choice in how you react to it.

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