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Finding more patience and understanding in conflict.

What do you need in order to show up with more patience and understanding—not just for another person, but also for yourself?

Finding yourself in conflict again? Here are some ways I've found to be more patient and understanding with myself and others.


In your next relationship conflict, take a moment to ask yourself, “What is at stake for me in this?” It may be more than you realize.

Many of us are hard on ourselves for how we show up during conflict, criticizing ourselves for not being patient enough, understanding enough, or wise enough.  We come at ourselves with harsh words like, “You knew better,” or, “How could you have made that same mistake again?”

While we could all use a little more patience and understanding, what’s missing during conflict is often not a particular demeanor, but an awareness—an awareness of what past experiences are playing a role in your present conflict.

When my partner is late for our dinner plans, I’m not angry because I stood around for ten minutes; I’m upset because I’m reminded of how often my mom would forget to pick me up from school. When I feel rejected around sex, I’m not frustrated because I need sex on-demand; I’m upset because I’m reminded of other forms of rejection.

Next time you feel yourself heating up over something seemingly small, take a moment to notice if there is more at stake than just the present conflict. That small moment of validation might actually be all you need in order to show up with more patience and understanding—not just for another person, but also for yourself.