Have you ever been surprised and said something along the lines of “Whoa, what’s YOUR problem, you just blew up at me” or “I hate it when they do that”?
This is the typical story of any conflict. It seems to just come out of nowhere, without warning.
Where Does Conflict Come From?
Conflict is usually born out of innocent small issues that are left to fester…all the stuff that there never seems to be a good time or enough time to talk about. We sit with these small thoughts or annoyances, thinking “It’s not that big a deal” or “I really don’t have time for this”. Not a problem…until one day all those little annoyances get so pent up that you lose it over your partner forgetting to take the trash out or on the driver in front of you.
One day, I was slamming my front door, dragging my kid behind me, when I realized that I’m an adrenaline junkie. No, not the cliff-diving type, I’m referring to the modern crisis of adrenaline rush addiction where staying constantly busy is a means to avoid dealing with issues.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I were adrenaline junkies in hiding. We would run around Toronto, with a jam-packed schedule. We would juggle a 45 hour work week, 10-hour commute, dinners out and expensive vacations. We were spending our time relaxing by watching Netflix, looking at stocks, browsing Pinterest – all the time saying “We never see each other, we’re so busy we never get a chance to talk”.
One day, a tiny voice inside me said: “Slow down”. Call it intuition.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was cutting off my adrenaline supply. I gave up my full-time job, hours driving, Pinterest and dinners out.
Not having the excuse ‘I’m too busy’ opens up a blank space for inquiry and curiosity. The gift of boredom and random conversation has led us to discover as a family important hidden issues. We have discovered that as parents, we disagree on the concept of religion and how to raise our son. We have also discovered that we both want to invest in our retirement but have no idea where to start.
Are you an adrenaline junkie? What are the little annoyances that you could start talking about before they become big hairy conflicts?
Sheena Williams, Associate
Lighthouse NINE Group