Conflict by teZa Lord
These days, more than usual, many of us are hoping, praying, arguing, and demanding that things go our way. But the chances of that happening are not any more than they’ve ever been which, at best, can be measured in percentages and opinion polls that may or may not be trustworthy. Therefore, we must always be prepared to accept different outcomes than what we hope for. If we don’t, our happiness level will be forever severely tested. And let’s face it, we all want to have personal happiness – right? – even if the outside world appears to be all wrong?
Sure, we want the best for our family, our community, our nation, and the entire worldwide blended human family and our fragile environment, including all the creatures on planet Earth. Oftentimes, happiness means accepting that the general will of the public, its deciding vote, or majority opinion will be, or is, different from ours. Whether we’re talking about an upcoming national election, another annoying family squabble over who chooses what to watch, how to socialize in this new Covid-era, or simply facing a friend who has said something hurtful, or even a partner who wants something different for dinner – it’s good practice to understand the importance, the how and the when, of letting go.
Before Letting Go
We must state our preferences first. In a manner as reasonable, peaceful, and articulate as possible. A good way is to ask to speak uninterruptedly, and then to extend this courtesy to the other whose opinion contrasts yours. It’s your right to hold, and express verbally, whatever opinion your conscience tells you is the “correct choice” … for YOU. Demand that right. Otherwise, you’ll feel like a victim, controlled by others, and that’s no way to attain happiness of any sort.
Once communication has happened (and, in the case of not being allowed this communication), you can skip directly to the next section below.
How can you accept an opinion, or outcome, that feels completely wrong, “not right,” and possibly totally contrary to the better wisdom that your choice expresses?
This is a very common every day challenge every person must learn to deal with: Allow others to have their opinions. You don’t have to agree with them. You only have to give others the same privilege of expression as you wish for yourself. If you are incapable of letting go of having things your own way, you are demonstrating stubbornness, have control issues, and are bullying others, however repugnant that accusation may be to you. You might possibly lose friends. Certainly, you will forfeit others’ respect and admiration. So here’s a few helpful hints about how to let go of needing to be right, if you’re struggling with this as so many of us are these days.
I had to do quite a bit of letting go as a stepmother in my blended family where, oftentimes, my opinion was in the minority. This resulted in my having so many opportunities to practice letting go without losing my spiritual and moral compass, my center, my serenity, and any real happiness. I became an expert during these past times when my opinion didn’t seem to matter at all, or was overruled by a “majority vote,” to such an extent that I came to call myself the “Queen of Detachment.”
And yes, detachment is the key to letting go. Let’s explore that seemingly complicated word, “detachment” that, once it’s understood, is really a simple spiritual principle, not a meandering psychological state of not-caring that some people make it out to be.
What Is Detachment?
To be detached doesn’t mean you don’t care. Detachment means that you have chosen to focus on the true center of life’s worth, your spiritual core, instead of all the outside, conflicting, confusing, ever-swirling influences that constantly surround us. To practice detachment is a major aspect of Mindfulness. Even with life’s difficulties and constant barrage of choices coming at us all the time, the more one focuses on our inner power, which mindfulness (also known as awareness and consciousness) is, the more likely you are to experience happiness even in the midst of life’s ferocious onslaughts of situations and tempestuous emotions. Let’s face it: Life is hard. It also is, during this era of Covid, incredibly surreal.
Here’s How to Be Detached
First, express how you feel about the situation. To yourself chiefly, but to anyone who is challenging your right to hold your opinion, speak your truth. But do so peacefully, and kindly. Never skip this step! Otherwise, you won’t be proceeding with Letting Go, but rather, you’ll be entering a state of denial, or worse, repression. Being repressed takes a lot more effort to un-do than it does to avoid that nasty state that is a first cousin of low self-esteem.
Make sure the other parties involved in a conflicting discussion understand you. Your meaning must be clear. You may have to “re-frame” your opinion using different words to make this happen, so people who hold different truths can comprehend your meaning. It’s important to realize that to understand your meaning does not mean the other parties agree with you. That is not within your power. Each person has the right to have their own opinion. We’re talking about expressing YOUR opinion, and that’s all we’re discussing here. Now, we can move on.
Secondly, listen to the other person(s)’s opinions. Make sure you understand. Remember, it’s not necessary to agree with them to understand their point of view. Allow them the same respect you insist for yourself: to be able to express yourself. Be fair. Be kind. Be patient.
Thirdly, here is the essence of the letting go part: it doesn’t matter one iota whichever opinion, yours or another’s, “wins” or “is picked” and becomes the rightful “decision” of whatever conflict we’re talking about. Life is like a roulette wheel. Sometimes the ball lands in your favor; sometimes, it falls in others’ favor. Only fanatics want to take “their opinion” to the final end of being the winner, no matter what.
Fourthly, if the process seems impossibly difficult you may choose to visualize “letting go” as releasing a balloon, for instance; or watching a piece of white paper drift away on a dark sea; or hearing an echo slowly dissolve after a loud scream erupts in a tall stone canyon. Whichever technique, mentally training your will, or visually assiting it, find what works best for you. Then, if you have to, repeat the letting go process as many times, as often as you have to, until your heart and mind feel free of “wanting to be right.” You’ll know when you’ve completed this step because you will have stopped obsessing about “needing to be right.” Important note here: if you want to be truly free of mental turmoil, be prepared to be shocked at how long this process takes, especially if you’ve never been good at letting go before. It does get easier with repeated use of not letting things bother you, I assure you.
Finally, you have now achieved true inner peace. No matter the outcome of the result of the original conflict you were dealing with, if you truly practice letting go of the results of the outcome, you will experience of the well-balanced, happy inner state called joy. Do not stop letting go until you reach this state of inner joy.
Why? Because, in truth, each of us has no control whatsoever over anything outside our own being. The only exception is parenting very young children, and that temporary guidance system type of “control” ends at the child’s entry into puberty.
The Rewards of Detachment
And guess what? If you refuse to practice detachment, you will, I guarantee you, be a miserably unhappy, intolerant person. You might even invite serious sickness into your psychic energies, because the person who insists on being “right” is never at peace. Someone who insists on having things their own way experiences a constant mind-yapping, a true sign of a control issue. This type of chattering mind is never at peace. Being unsatisfied spells STRESS.
So my friend, if you wish for a healthy, happy life, choose this practice of letting go. Start experimenting with small stuff, like what you and a friend are having for dinner tonight; which show to watch; whether to socialize or not, and how much or little of it you need for mental health during our ongoing Covid-era. If you practice letting go, you’ll get better and better at detachment. Until, like me, you, too, will be Kings and Queens, and Dukes and Duchesses of Detachment. Detachment is the name of the inner kingdom of contentment that resides within each and every human heart.