Curiosity & Transcendence
What happens psychologically when conflict occurs?
Our self image is challenged. Our core beliefs are challenged. Our ego is wounded and we consequently go into a fight or flight response grounded in our limbic system. Both of these responses generate conflict - one direct and the other more indirect resulting in a passive aggressive stance.
There is a third optional response and that is to respond with curiosity. We may have been wronged and harmed by events leading to the conflict but regardless of what has happened, we are now responsible for our thoughts, feelings and actions. The way to assume that responsibility is to explore with curiosity our thoughts, feelings and actions in the moment and to recognize where we are telling stories and defending our ego and open up to what lies beneath that.
Defenses are strongest when the ego is weakest. The fear we experience as the threat to our self image is intense and is based in a belief that something horrible will happen if it is destroyed – if it is destroyed, we are destroyed. And as soon as our perspective is obliterated, we do not waste time reconstructing it or replacing it with something new. What we find however, if we employ curiosity and allow the empty space to hang around long enough, is a sense of freedom, spaciousness, and capacity for strength and insight otherwise missed. This can lead to transcendence, wisdom and leadership when they are needed most, not to mention the power in the negotiation longed for in the first place.
Do not hold so tightly to your sense of self that you miss the Real you.