I spoke at the Ontario School Counsellor's Association conference a week ago. My husband Joel has presented there too for years, so, many of my participants have gotten to know us well.
After my presentation on conflict skills, a man approached me. He said "Can I ask kind of a personal question? Do you and Joel ever, like YELL at each other? Or, when you are solving problems, do you just hold hands and gaze lovingly in each others eyes?"
"Oh no, we yell sometimes."
The man laughed "Darn! You crushed my vision of you two!"
"No, I said, you just learned that we were humans."
I know that I teach this stuff - to parents, to targets of bullying, and to people bullying... I know that I have SO many answers, but, you need to know that I am far from perfect.
Staying calm in a storm of feelings is HARD WORK. It takes practice, and messing up, and then more practice.
What I do know is that the only way I can do my work AND try to stay curious and kind in conflict with my family is to look after myself too.
This is a picture of the end of my run today.
I started to run in the summer, and have continued to do so for 20 minutes almost every day. It gives me a chance to let off steam, to think, to breathe, and to let go of the day's tension.
The result? I am about 700% calmer with my family.
So, if you are like me and want to do conflict better, but, are ALSO a human with real-deal emotions, what daily practice can you start? Think of an activity that shifts your emotions for about 24 hour hours.
Got it? Now go do it!!!
Kathleen is an anti-bullying specialist, a conflict coach, a teacher, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend...