What does that even mean? Leading with love… I wondered to myself as I entertained this thought inconveniently entering my consciousness.
A negative encounter with someone that I have a lot of love for had just occurred. Events such as this typically prompts a self examination of sorts. Therefore when this question initially bubbled to the surface of my mind, I wasn’t that surprised but perhaps I was a bit annoyed. A part of me wanted to dig my heels in more to assert loudly that my stance in the conflict was the MOST logical perspective. Then there was a more demure thought… but what if it wasn’t? Followed by, did you lead with love?
The truth is we don’t always lead with love, heck , we aren’t even trying to think or consider LOVE during conflicts. We are typically too busy trying to prove ourselves right or the victim or the hero etc etc.
When we are in conflict with another, there is a tendency to claw at eachother defensively. Our sympathetic nervous system is charged into gear , our amygdala firing , in anticipation of fear and danger . The release of excitatory neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and norepinephrine further incite our fight or flight emotions , alienating us more from our perceived enemy. Yes even when that “ enemy” used to be our loved one. It is worse still when we had no preceding positive emotional connection to the person whom we are in conflict with , a stranger during a road rage for example .
When we are left without appropriate interventions to change the course of the conflict, emotions continue to heighten , negative words become our armor flying around destroying all in its path and in some situations, physical threats may even arise….. HALT!!!!
Enter breathe , a most precious commodity in conflict resolution. Just breathe…. aahhhh
Yup do that again and again… now take an even deeper breathe….oooooh yeeaaahhh ( sigh).
Now give some time for this precious oxygen carried in your breathe to quiet down the raging parts of your brain. As this oxygen perfuses the frontal lobe , which is the rational , decision making , organizing part of your brain…. You begin to emerge from your battle field to rediscover yourself again. Now you can “see “ clearer Who, What and Why you were fighting so hard in the first place . Look around your battlefield and assess the damage done in anger .
Sometimes there is a mess to be cleaned up, maybe starting with acknowledging the parts we played in the conflict and extending a peace offering maybe the most COURAGEOUS action to take.
Luckily, now you have your well oxygenated “thoughtful“ frontal lobe to thank for your ability to rationally consider pros and cons of continuing this conflict. It also allows us access to that tiny whisper reminding us to LEAD WITH LOVE, because after all, loved ones or strangers, enemies or friends, we all are HUMAN (be) KIND.
As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences . Please feel free to also “follow” so you can get notifications on future blog posts💕