I have had several conversations recently with people who are experiencing conflict. Their challenge is how to put what others are bringing into their lives in perspective. To help them process through it all I likened the other people’s behavior to someone who brings a bag full of juicy, wet, dirty trash into your nice white living room, and as soon as they have dumped their trash they leave the mess for you to clean up.
No one likes feeling that their world is not valued or important, or that others simply dump and run. When emotions run high it is hard to think straight and put our feelings into perspective. It is hard when we have set up our world the way we want it – like a beautiful white living room – to simply have others disregard what is important to us by leaving their emotional trash in our space.
As we talked about how this made the person feel, they usually asked what to do about it. One option is to clean up the mess and prepare for it to happen again. Knowing they have dumped on you once chances are they will do it again. Another option is to not allow them into your home knowing that they will simply bring more trash into your serene place. A third option is to prepare your space for an onslaught and change it so that nothing they bring will harm what is important to you.
For all the people who were experiencing this challenge they had reached a point where they knew they had to act. Their emotions were saturated and they were tired of being disrespected. When they thought about their life as a white living room they realized they were willing to stand up for themselves and what is important to them. It meant changing the way they allow others to speak and behave and impact their lives. Talking it through and having an image to protect gave them courage.
Next time you feel you are being disrespected what will you do to protect your white living room?