If you’ve recently experienced anger, torment or hurt, here’s an exercise I recommend:
Think of the recent conflict that brought you these emotions.
Now, think hard about one way either:
- You previously behaved in a way somewhat similar to how the other person did, or
- Your own behaviour in the situation was not perfect (maybe you also did something slightly insensitive or hurtful, even if you meant well, or can justify exactly why you did it).
When you look for and find a fault in your own behaviour, it often hurts. But if you are brave enough to acknowledge it, you are rewarded with a sense of pleasure, pride, acceptance and growth.
Shifting our perspective of conflict from being externally caused, to (at least partially) internally caused, is a useful practice. It can help us become:
- less biased,
- less judgmental,
- less argumentative,
- less inclined to complain,
- less likely to react with further conflict, and
- more forgiving.
Happiness doesn’t come from insisting we are always right.
But it does require us to open minded enough to see that, very often, our initial perspective has room to improve.