So you’ve got a garden.
Which, it turns out, is a really great place to get into — and stay in — if you want to be in your Right Mind.
Which is required if you are going to avoid conflict and seek engagement.
In addition to planting and weeding and mulching (and, if necessary, shooting woodchucks), you can also do some helpful observing from your garden. Observing other people — their behaviors — and observing yourself — your behaviors and your emotions — from inside your garden is the way to gather what I call emotional and relational data.
It is emotional and relational data that you use to make a good guess about what the heck is going on in an interaction.
It is emotional and relational data that you use to make the flip.
If you can make the flip, you can make a good guess about what might be going on inside the person you are afraid to conflict with. Based on your guess, you can come up with a plan for engaging. You can implement your plan and see what happens.
You can watch the conflict dissolve.
Or you can gather more emotional and relational data, which will help you refine your guess so you can make a new plan.
The ability to get into your own garden and observe is a sign that you are in your Right Mind.
The inability to get into your own garden and observe is a sign that you’re “out of your mind” — and undoubtedly for good reasons. There is no blame. Just awareness and responsibility. When you’re out of your mind, it is your job to get back into your garden and settle down. Breathe. Get support and perspective. Then make the flip, get back into the relational game with compassion — for yourself and for the other — and an informed plan.