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  • Writer's pictureBess de Boer

Start by looking in the mirror

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

The biggest obstacle to getting to 'yes', is often ourselves. We need to start by looking in the mirror.

It's instinctive to shut all reasoning down and defend ourselves in the face of conflict. This response to conflict goes back to our origins. Evolutionary psychology tells us that we are hard-wired to put survival ahead of reasoning and fight when we feel threatened.

As part of this effort to defend at all costs, we do something else as well - we place the blame squarely and singularly on the one sitting on the other side - on the one presenting the threat.

But what if we were to begin with ourselves rather than the other?

Although counterintuitive, blaming the one on the other end of our conflict is in fact disempowering. When we place the fault on the other, we wash our hands of the issue we're facing, and at the same time, we strip ourselves of the power to shift the conflict. We hand its fate over to the other side.

Taking responsibility for the reality we are facing, is self-empowering.

Taking responsibility does not mean placing the blame on ourselves. It means we accept that we are a vital part of the conflict we are involved in.

We are co-creators of the reality we are trying to resolve.

The gift in this realization is that it gives us the power to change the situation. In contrast, when we get laser-focused on the other, we become imprisoned. We place ourselves at the other's mercy, without intending to.

The toughest person in the dynamic of the conflict is not the other. The toughest person is our own self. It is our self that we need to get to 'yes' with, before we can look to the other.

But what does that mean?

How do we get to 'yes' with our self, and do we need to give in to do so?

The answer is a resounding NO!

Getting to 'yes' with ourselves starts with looking in the mirror. It's about gaining perspective, finding calm and achieving self-control. It is not about giving in. Only when we get to this place of 'yes' with ourselves, can we see our purpose in the midst of the equation of negotiation, or conflict. It's from this place that we can hear our inner wisdom. It's here that we discover what we truly need and uncover inventive ways to achieve it.

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