I have spent this year working on a new way or relating to others in conflict. I have several friends who have helped me do this in a very stressful situation this year. And I have relearned a saying that I have not mastered yet – and may never master. It goes like this and is from Victor Frankl, who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, a book I must read before the end of this year.
In between the stimulus and response, there is a space. And in that space lies all your power.
I always have given away my space, my power, by reacting right away. I have learned this year, through great struggle, to sit with the anger, discomfort, fear that have made me give away that space in the past. That the situation will still be there in a minute or an hour or a day. That letting it sit and giving it time gives you a better perspective on an appropriate response or no response at all. I have also learned, through doing this, that sometimes silence is more powerful than anything I can say, and says more about what I think than anything I can say.
This has been one of the most painful years of my life. The feelings for me that had previously been kept under a false politeness have broken into the open. Blatant hostility is not easy to sit in the midst of, but I have done it. It helped that the sources of hostility are not people I have trusted or wanted in my life regardless of what this year brought. We are on different levels of the universe plane: just ships passing in the night. So I didn’t suck in the dislike, etc. But it still wasn’t comfortable to sit with.
Every day, the Universe teaches me another lesson. Painful though they have been, I am grateful for every one.