Engaging with gossip and backbiting got you here.
Telling the wrong story to yourself, to other people, and to the world around you got you here.
Building a myth about what your role was (or wasn’t) and then building an emotional, psychological, and behavioral shrine to that myth got you here.
Being intentional with your own incompetency and fear and choosing the way of escape and comfort, rather than the way of engagement and discomfort got you here.
Choosing a narrow focus and not choosing a wider view got you here.
In the fields of business development, sales, and motivational speaking, the old idea gets bandied about, and the following line gets thrown off with ease quite regularly “what got you to here isn’t going to get you to there.”
Knowing where you want to go in a conflict (beginning engagement—or resolution—with the end in mind) seems obvious. And that’s why the line works. But it’s one that has been repeated so many times, that it has crossed from the obvious into the realm of the cliché.
Taking a hard look at what got you to where you are in your relationships can make “getting there” daunting. It’s easy to say nice, throwaway lines, and they look pithy in Tweets, Facebook posts, and on T-Shirts. But in reality, many of us never look back with a critical perspective. Instead, if we look back at all, it’s with shame, blame, and negativity.
And sometimes, we don’t look back, because we genuinely believe in our minds that we’ve let go of a situation, a person, or a behavior that caused us a difficulty, generated a confrontation, or that lead to a conflict. However, our behavior that got us there, doesn’t change dramatically, we don’t get 1% better every day, and we pass through relationships frustrated, disappointed, and disheartened.
Letting go of what got you here means letting go of your old self. The person you were before you got here. It means letting go of the myths, legends, stories, emotional shrines, connections, and in some cases, relationships, that defined who you used to be. It means having the courage and wisdom of an adult, with the compassion and empathy of a child—and the brilliance to know the difference between the two.
In the long run of your life, it’s better to be surrounded by the courageous, than the cowardly, and the childlike, rather than the childish.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org