Hello and welcome, I’m Sara Intonato. Thank you so much for joining me on today’s podcast episode where we’re examining something every business person encounters, whether you’re a healing professional or work in finance, this is something you’re going to have to rumble with, and that is the subject of conflict.
Nobody is exempt from conflict. And if you’re experiencing conflict right now, whether it’s with a client, or a supplier, or someone in your personal life, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in.
It can be hard to remember that conflict is inevitable. It’s an inevitable part of doing business. Why? Because you’re human and everyone you’re working with is human too.
This means you’re going to misstep sometimes, there’ll be days when your communication is not very clear, and there’ll be days where you’re feeling sensitive or having a tough time in your personal life and that affects you as you move through your work.
So, spoiler alert: you’re not perfect.
Cut yourself some slack, and most importantly, don’t create a story around this conflict. You make mistakes. That’s part of being a human. Don’t make it mean anything about you.
Don’t start telling yourself you shouldn’t be in business or you’re not responsible, etc. It’s just life. Acknowledge it for what it is, a rite of passage, and let it go. That being said, there are some very important keys to handling conflict which will help you no matter who you’re struggling with today.
Interestingly enough, these keys come from the yoga sutra, so we’re going to take a break from technical strategy today and dive deeply into philosophy. If yoga philosophy is not your jam, stay with me, I promise you’ll be glad that you did.
The key to resolving conflict with clarity and with poise comes from yoga sutra 2.33.
This yoga sutra is hidden in the section on the eight limbs of yoga. Many people gloss over the sutra because they’re in a rush to get to the next part of the eight limbs. And this sutra, which talks about resolving conflict, comes right after Patanjali, who authored the yoga sutra, lays out the first two limbs of yoga. And in this sutra, and it’s 2.33 if you want to follow along, it says in Sanskrit, “vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam.” And pratipaksha bhavanam is this key he’s talking about. You can think about it easily as if it’s answering a question. And the question is, “how can we examine and reexamine our attitudes towards others?”
And I want you to really push pause and think about how you can use this principle in your life every single day.
But in order to do that, we’re going to dissect the meaning of the sutra, a little bit more. Pratipaksha bhavanam literally means to visualize or see through opposite eyes. It’s a tool we use to see through someone else’s eyes. Or in modern day terms, put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Here’s the thing. You can’t effectively do this when you’re all hyped up, and agitated, and sweaty because you’re angry that the other person is not seeing eye to eye with you. If you want to be able to resolve this conflict and see through someone else’s eyes, you have to deescalate yourself.
How do you do this?
Well, of course for me, I would recommend you get on your mat, do your yoga practice, do your meditation, go outside, take a walk, ground yourself in nature, maybe even do something fun, have a laugh, watch a funny movie, anything, but go at this conflict more.
If you’re in an agitated state, you might feel like the effective resolution will come from going at this conflict, head to head, beating it down until you figure it out. That’s not true. You’re only going to bring more agitation and more drama to the situation. The best thing you can do in this moment is to push pause and step away.
This also goes against what you might intuitively want to do because we live in a culture of urgency. Everything happens right now. Things feel forced, things feel immediate, and I even remember people giving me lots of unsolicited advice when I was a newlywed saying things like, “never go to bed angry. Always make sure you finish every conflict before nighttime and if you and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye, well don’t go to bed until you solve that problem.”
Interestingly enough, the yoga sutra say the opposite. Maybe the best thing you can do is go to bed and leave it for the night. Step away if you are not in a state of clarity. When you have deescalated yourself, feel aligned and calm within your own being, you’re in a greater state of clarity. You’re going to see the situation differently through your own perspective and you’re going to have a greater ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself why might he or she be feeling this way? What in their life is going on that would provoke them to act like this? Maybe if you know more about their personal life or their upbringing, it might shed more light on why they act or react in a certain way.
About a year ago, I found out a little bit more about my mother-in-law’s upbringing and I remember when I heard about what her childhood had been like, thinking, I wish I had known this for the last 17 years of my life because it would have affected my ability to understand her in a deeper way and it would have allowed me to access deeper levels of patience and understanding with her had I known more about who she was from the get-go.
And this is something we can’t practice if we’re in a state of anxiety. If your ego is flared up wanting to rear its ugly head at the situation, it’s impossible to be in a place of empathy and awareness of someone else’s energy or situation.
However, when you’re able to do that from a place of clarity, from a place of peace, you will at the very least find more peace within yourself, because you’ll have a deeper understanding of why this other person is acting the way they’re acting.
Let me be clear, it may not bring conflict resolution to the situation, because you can’t control if this other person is choosing to act from a place of clarity or not. You can hope so, you can encourage them to do so, but ultimately you can only control yourself.
So even if you step away, ground yourself, revisit your spiritual practice, and return to the situation, able to see through the other person’s eyes, able to understand them, you still can’t control how they react. So worst case scenario, you will leave this situation, conflict resolved or not, with a greater sense of peace within yourself. Best case scenario, because you have dialed down your ego and made the effort to understand this person, you will be able to then lead them through a conversation, through a process of connection, which will help you together to come to a compromise.
I also want to be clear that when you’re in that space of stepping away to find clarity, don’t hem and haw in that space. Once you’ve taken the time that you need to go within yourself and connect to the highest vision of who you are, then it’s time to take action. Revisit the conflict, revisit the awareness of the other person, and take action from that place.
Give them a call. Make the effort to meet up, have a conversation. I highly recommend doing as much of this in person or on video as possible so you can see each other and have a real human connection. Don’t just get stuck in that space of taking time for yourself and then turning it into avoidance. You’ll know when you’re avoiding because you’re scared to face a situation. When you find yourself doing that, stop, take a deep breath, and go take action instead.
Because if you’re in an indecisive place, that’s going to attract more indecision in your business, and that will show up as customers not signing their contracts, people reaching out for your services and then never following up, never booking their sessions. A lot of murkiness basically. And we don’t want any murkiness anywhere near your business. So make that point to get clear, once you feel that clarity, take action.
I also want to emphasize that this is hard work.
You might try this technique, pratipaksha bhavanam, in your life the next time you have a conflict and it might not go well. You might find that no matter how hard you try, you can’t get rid of the anger you feel towards this other person. You can’t get rid of feeling like a victim, because this person has wronged you. And I just want you to know that that’s okay. Awareness is the first step. Don’t give up on the fact that you are putting the energy into this healing process on your own. And eventually, if you keep doing that, it will take root. So just like getting on your yoga mat is a practice, because it’s an ever-changing thing, this is a practice too. So don’t beat yourself up if it’s not perfect right away.
Can I promise you that every conflict you’re in will wrap itself up in a pretty box with rainbows and unicorns? No, I can’t. But I can promise you that if you adopt this practice of seeing through someone else’s eyes, you will leave every single conflict you’re part of in peace. Even if the outcome isn’t what you want, even if the other person won’t listen to reason, it won’t matter. You won’t let it stop you from moving on with your life and doing the things you want to do with grace and poise.
If this podcast episode touches a nerve with you, it means we’re onto something worth exploring in a deeper way. And I want you to know I’m here to help you with this. So I have a few action steps for you:
One, come follow me on Instagram. I’m all about building relationships and using social media to have real conversations.
Two, share this podcast. If you’re receiving information and support from it, please share it with others that you know could benefit.
And lastly, I would be so thankful if you could leave me a podcast review. Reviews are podcast currency, and I totally appreciate you taking the time to leave one for me.
Thank you so much for joining me today and remember helping others and being successful are not mutually exclusive. You can have both. Have a great day. Namaste.