Many of us are feeling the pronounced air of collective tension. Opposing perspectives and disgruntled attacks contribute to this tension. I often wonder what can help this dissipate. How do we learn to get along and what disrupts our ability to do so?
I think examining our own childhood environment is helpful. How did you respond to tension as a child? Did you strive to be on top or shrink into the background? Were you taught how to compromise? Were you taught the value of listening? Perhaps a mixture of these existed.
Many facets of family dynamics are worth exploring. Examine the nature of the tension. Was it occasional or ongoing? Where did the tension come from? Did parents hold opposing views? Did siblings cooperate or was there an overriding sense of rivalry? Were your needs met, or did you lack the sense of a cohesive family unit? How often did your needs and the needs of others conflict?
When we better understand ourselves, we can make more sense of our present situation. The climate in our family of origin comes with us into adulthood. It may remain and continue to “run the show”, or we find alternative ways of being in relationships.
In many families, we learn to do what’s right for the good of all, and not just concern ourselves with our own desires. Families may model how to compromise and how to listen to others. These skills develop with time.
The art of compromise and listening help us overcome the rigid positions that lead to unhappiness.
Learning how to listen is an invaluable art. If I can not hear your needs, I may unintentionally negate them. If you can not hear mine, we will endure the tension until we reach an impasse.
Let us help our children learn to listen to others in their families and with their friends. Eventually, they will carry that skill into adulthood and are better prepared to be mindful of their community.
Show your children how to do this in your exchanges with others. Let them see you work things out, especially when things are not going your way. Notice how well you listen and whether you put effort into compromise.