How to Create Peace Instead of Conflict in Your Relationships

How to Create Peace Instead of Conflict in Your Relationships

This is part 4 of a series on the five fundamentals of peaceful relationships.

Current culture and leading relationship experts hold that conflict within relationships is inevitable, and that lack of conflict is a danger sign for a relationship. They say if you don’t have conflicts, it means that you are suppressing your emotions and heading for trouble. The conflict arises inevitably from innate differences between each person (see last week’s blog on this issue). There is a prevailing opinion that suggests that you can balance criticisms and injuries within a relationship by having at least five compliments for every criticism.

We have a very different view about this.

Think about how people interact in society. We nearly all adjust our behavior to fit in with other people because we want and need to be accepted. We are judged by our speech, the car we drive, the job we have, the clothes we wear. We each use a persona to navigate these issues. Fitting in with larger groups can involve masking your true self, and you may make the mistake of carrying this forward into your deeper relationships.

There is also an element of competition in society for money, housing, affection, status, love, but this competitive element need not exist between two people. A close relationship is fundamentally different because it is not a competition, it is a collaboration.

Within your close one-on-one relationships, you can have a different experience and a radically different approach. It does not involve competition or the need to defend, hide, or protect.

A close relationship is fundamentally different from others as it is built upon openness and honesty, both in sharing and accepting. This creates trust, which allows you to be more open, which creates more trust, and so on. You can set an intention and make a choice to imbue your relationships with these qualities.

How do you carry this out?

Applying awareness to the tone and timbre of your voice, your body language, making eye contact, expressing warmth and attentiveness, being patient, and listening actively – these create an atmosphere conducive to openness. It is vital to feel comfortable and free of all worries of being attacked, criticized, or any actions that will require defensiveness, closing down, protecting, or withholding. Those things cause separation and withdrawal from the connection and lead to the buildup of issues – the kind of issues that cause conflict and distance between people.

When you know you are not going to be treated unfairly and that you are respected and honored for who you are, a wonderful loop is created. The more you feel sure of your safety from attacks, derision, manipulation, and attempts to assail or change who you are, the more open and sharing of your inner self you will be in such a relationship. The feeling of being free to honestly share in this open manner creates a sense of peace and deep connection between those who partake in this way of being together.

When core values are matching or complementary, and you honor, accept, and celebrate the uniqueness of the other, it leads the way to trust born of this openness and honesty. The exquisite quality of ease that accompanies relationships built on this kind of trust is indeed sublime, and gives you a direct experience into another kind of reality. Dealing with conflict becomes unnecessary when you choose not to create conflict and to behave in a manner that creates other kinds of interactions. When you are not actively creating conflict, you can actively create peace.

After a certain amount of time, your trust in the other person is so strong that you can go all in; you can make the leap to total acceptance.

At this point, you stop criticizing, advising, controlling, cautioning, warning, complaining, or correcting. When you can accept one another fully, the very quality of your experience changes entirely. Your relationship is transformed. When an issue arises that affects both of you, you don’t try to force a change; instead, you look for a mutual solution. We’ll cover this in detail next week.

So offer total acceptance in your close relationships. Their ways of doing things are just as valid as yours. You will see yourself grow out of habits and patterns that do not serve you in your interactions. You will find a change in your interest in others and in your ability to listen, hear, and see them. You will naturally find yourself less wrapped up in your own ideas of how things should be and more able to be open to the unique perspective of those you intimately relate to.

The consequence of treating each other in this way is an extraordinary sense of freedom, of being able to be who you are and live your life as you choose. The rewards far outweigh any initial self-restraint over trying to control the other person.

See the relationship as a collaboration, not a competition, and practice openness, honesty, and trust. As time progresses, these reinforce each other. Along the way, you can look at how your values match. At some point, you grok that their different ways of acting are not a threat to you, but an asset, and by totally accepting how they are and what they do, you can relax and enjoy the full benefits of the relationship.

Take a leap of belief, enter this kind of being together, and you will be amazed that you haven’t always related this way. Take that peace and comfort, that experience of love, out into the world and spread it to all your relationships.

Photo credit: Maude Mayes
Photo note: Various marsh birds together

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