When you get into an argument or conflict, do you try to win?
Do you think that you are right, and the other person is wrong, and if only you could convince them of that, all would be well?
I call this the win-lose mentality, where we want to win and the other person to lose.
But guess what? When we are conscious, we see that there is no such thing as win-lose. There’s only lose-lose or win-win. Either we both win or we both lose.
Let’s take a closer look at that.
The Win-Lose Approach (AKA Lose-Lose)
Win-lose is where we want our opinion to prevail without consideration for the other person.
We think “I don’t care what you think, this is what I want.”
When the other person says “no” or doesn’t go along with us, we become upset.
We might try to force, threaten, or manipulate the other person in order to get what we want.
Think about it: if you prevail by forcing an issue, what happens to the relationship? It’s harmed, and you both lose.
Win-lose is a form of war and is not loving to ourselves or the other. And when we think about it, are there really winners and losers in war?
In war, both sides lose a lot. The losses are huge, and the harm is enormous. When we create war in our relationships, both parties are harmed, and the relationship is harmed.
For example, let’s say that one partner in a relationship does something the other partner doesn’t like, and the partner who feels hurt says, “You have to apologize to me!”
You can pressure your partner to apologize, but you’re unlikely to get an authentic apology. At best, you’re likely to get the words, but not the spirit of an apology. Now you haven’t gotten an authentic apology and you know it and your partner is likely to feel angry, resentful, or that you don’t care what’s true for them. You’ve both lost.
In conscious relationships, we want everyone to “win”. This doesn’t mean that there is always going to be agreement, but instead, the idea is to reach a place of mutual understanding and positive regard.
Being conscious is essential if we truly want loving relationships. When we are conscious, we see that our ego is not looking for true understanding. It is looking to win, or at least, to not lose.
If we are to elevate the quality of our relationships, it is important to strive to understand one another by practicing compassionate curiosity towards our self and the other helps us to be open.
Dropping the “I know” stance helps us look at the situation through beginners’ eyes. When we set our egos aside to the extent that is humanly possible and seek to understand, we see that there is no good guy and no bad guy.
You are two different people who see life through a different set of eyes. You’ve had different life experiences, and inevitably there will be times when you disagree or want different things.
True mastery is when we’re able to observe our ego (the human parts of us that want to win), love it, yet not give our power over to it. Similarly, when seeing our partner’s ego is at play, we understand what is happening. We know that addressing our partner’s highest self instead of engaging with their ego is more supportive of our partner and the relationship.
When conflict arises
Of course, there will be many a time that we go unconscious in our relationships. Notice when you become attached to your ego’s desires. Maybe you pick a fight with your partner or behave as if your partner is your adversary. Slow down. Take some time to cool down and “wake up”.
Realize that when you escalate an interaction into conflict, you are likely to say and do things that you really don’t mean. You may want to say to your partner, “I love you, and me, and our relationship too much to continue this conversation right now. I’m upset and want to take some time to calm down before I say or do anything that I regret.”
You’ll notice that when you approach relationships consciously, you will be less impulsive and driven by emotion. You will feel emotions, but you will not be controlled by them.
Seeing another’s perspective
Another great thing about the win-win perspective is the awareness that there is another person in the relationship, not just you.
This person is someone that you can learn from. You can learn about the other and about yourself. When you drop your defenses and open to the experience of relationship, you will be less prone to be reactive.
When we let go of our judgments and stop taking things personally, we can begin to enjoy the grand adventure of growth that comes with conscious relationships.
As you become more conscious, you will welcome free, unfettered communication with an open heart and an open mind.