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4.5 screamfree conflict
May 5, 2016

Can You Live with It? (part II)

“When human beings live together, conflict is inevitable. War is not.”
(Daisaku Ikeda)

Two days ago we talked about a very powerful truth: when we cannot control our own emotions, we inevitably try to control other people’s behavior.

Yesterday we talked about a very powerful question: if the person in your life you most want to change never does, can you live with it?

If yes, then drop the issue forever and learn to love the person as is. What’s fascinating about this path is that as you walk it, you’ll often see that person beginning making the changes you always hoped for. For instance, I’ve seen countless spouses, after they initiate and finalize their divorce, watch their ex begin to grow in the very areas that led them to split in the first place. This can be maddening, but it’s very common whenever you stop trying to change another person; it actually frees them up to change themselves.

If your answer to the question is no, you cannot live with your relationship with this person if they never change, then you have to have the courage to confront. This is incredibly hard for so many of us, for a number of reasons:

  • Confrontation is scary
  • We falsely believe any kind of confrontation is mean, or unkind
  • We falsely believe good relationships are not supposed to have any conflict at all
  • We would rather complain to others about this person than actually confront the person directly
  • We would rather choose unhappy over uncomfortable, because at least the unhappy situation we choose is familiar

A hallmark of mature adulthood, however, is the ability to confront others in a way that actually can strengthen the relationship. In our book, ScreamFree Marriage, we laid out a formula for doing just that. We called it Authentic Self-Representation, and it lays out clear steps for confronting in the name of love.

Tomorrow we’ll take those steps together. For now, pause and reflect on the person whose behavior you can live with, and the person whose behavior affects you in such a way you must address it.

Who’s who?

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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