A few Saturdays ago, you received a quick email about Mercury Retrograde, essentially warning you that a lot of unusually intense emotions, reactions, circumstances, etc. were like to be busting out all over the place…particularly with loved ones. I told you to not necessarily take anything at face value or have conflicts automatically mean something is horribly wrong. I even shared that I had had an uncharacteristically horrible blow-out with one of the folks I dearly love the night before. At the end of that evening, prior to writing you about it, I just felt horrible, felt I’d ruined that relationship for life, felt inept, and just flat out confused as to what the hell had just happened.
Whether Mercury Retrograde really has anything to do with it all doesn’t matter. What really matters is that, if the guano is going to hit your fan, can you turn it into a souffle of growth, progress, and deeper connection with someone (and yourself)? So, like the headline for this piece says, can you turn a moment of strife or hate (I use that word more as a dramatic label than The Truth) into more love? Absolutely. I’ll give you an example of how I did it using the blow-up referred to above.
As is the case with most things that really make you lose your stuff, the specific details of what “happened” in the squabble I went through a few Fridays ago aren’t as important as what I’ve discovered and gained that you can too if you run into similar situations with your partner or other loved ones. The gist of what caused the blow-up was a simple conversation where the other party said something that a part of me “heard” as a message that the other person didn’t want to play with me, essentially (not at all the truth, by the way). I got hurt and then very angry, but told the other person that I would talk to them later when we were meeting up to get some things done that we were working together on. In the interim, I was still fuming and my mind was building evidence for its case about what was really happening with the other person. The more the case got built, the more “right” I was feeling, the more self-righteous I got, and the more hurt and PO’d I got.
Meanwhile, the other person, turns out, was going through something similar. When we got to our meeting place, we did the work that needed to be done, and then went to the parking lot, where I intended to apologize for my initial reaction energy, find out what the facts really were, and work through anything that needed to be worked through. But, the other person had built their case, was even more mad than I was, and we both basically opened up a can of whup-ass on each other that was hurtful, spiteful, and not at all the truth about much of anything, other than our respective reactions and interpretations. The evening ended in us both leaving in a huff and being completely disconnected. It felt horrible.
Odds are, you have experienced something like this, right? Maybe even it’s something that happens with you and your partner more frequently than you like…or with one of your kids…or a co-worker. Truly, this kind of stuff happens all the time, and you may have grown up watching it happen in your family a lot, in one form or another. If you did, then this kind of thing can seem almost “normal.” However, you – like everyone else – have your limits on how much of that you can handle before the hurt and upset turns into potentially fatal (to the relationship) levels of resentment.
So, when this happens, and you’re feeling like you “hate” the other person and would just as soon throw them under a bus as look at them, what do you do? The first thing is take the time to cool off, feel and move the emotional energy, and then start looking at what you were really wanting that caused the upset, based on circumstances that may not have even been explicitly related. In other words, using my example here, I was mad at this person because I thought that they didn’t want to be with me and hang out. As I’ve looked at it more deeply, however, I saw that what a part of me was really wanting was to be reassured that I was loved by this person…which would be “proven” by them choosing me to play with. It’s just like grade school, isn’t it? But, we often react to and handle things as if we were still in grade school!
If you can figure out what you’re really wanting (which, on one level or another, is usually to feel connected), then go back to the other person, clean up your part of not communicating the way you would’ve liked to, take responsibility for your actions/non-actions, allow the other person to do the same (if they’re ready and willing), and then explore what you want to create instead. In other words, how can you convert that temporary, child-like “I hate you,” to a more adult and conscious “I love you and want more of that“?
In doing that with the other person I’ve been referring to (with the help of a facilitator, by the way, which is a good idea to have when the blow-up’s severe enough), I not only saw what I really needed and wanted, and saw where I was responsible for not asking for it the way I know how to, a huge internal relief and freedom came in. Then, it turned out that there was so much the other party was wanting and needing with me (all of which was centered in emotional connection) that they didn’t get because their reactions and projections went to town…much of which stemmed from things not communicated. In the end, we both apologized, took responsibility for our parts, shared explicitly what we needed, set some new boundaries, and left the conversation fully back in love with each other again.
Moral of the story…don’t automatically take a blow-out – once you cool off and move the energy of the anger/hurt – as a sign of “The End Is Near!” Instead, see what happens if you were to use it as an opportunity and a sign that there’s more love wanted and waiting to be had…if only you’re willing to take full responsibility for what you need and communicate it! So much of the time, the deepest roots of continual conflict will be tied to how much one or both of you are NOT saying, not what you ARE saying. And, if you’ll say it, even if you still have some rocky waves to traverse, if you hang in there with each other – rooted in your commitment to see each other as deeply loved – you’d be amazed at what you can overcome and create newly with each other.