Gay Life Coaching: Conflict Is Good For You!
Why is conflict important in a gay man’s life?
Conflict is a very important part of everyone’s relationships, but it is even more important in a gay man’s life because conflict has the power to heal shame.
I often recommend my clients to cause conflict on purpose with their friends and partners – encouraging the creation of moments during which opportunities for vulnerability exist for both people. This is how you learn to surrender logic and open up to emotion underneath.Many gay men are subject to a lot of negativity from the discriminatory messages in the media and also from each other. Research shows that a lot of this negative energy is stored in our cells, tissues and bones, so if we want to live in good health, we need to have a way to release negative emotions into the open. This is where conflict becomes handy, especially for gay men.
This conflict may be started in the form of a judgment, a condescending conversation, a projection at someone else, or in an all-out fight with your date or a boyfriend – but at the end, if you are paying attention – conflict will reveal to you a lot more about you than any other method of communication.
Conflict can bring to the surface your insecurities, rationalizations and intellectualizations mixed with wounds from abandonment, rejection and shame.
Conflict, then, is the window to many parts of you that may have been masked by busy-life, codependency or self-sacrifice (always being the nice-guy).
Let’s take an example of two men who are in love with each other and live together. On a Saturday night one partner wants to see a movie and the other wants to read a book.
The stage for conflict is set. Now, the partner with the strongest insecurity gets triggered. Let’s assume that the partner who stayed at home began to feel angry about not going with his lover.
Here is where the magic happens:
If the angry partner who stayed at home finally lets go of his “ego” (the need to be right during conflict) he becomes vulnerable. This vulnerability is the moment of healing – he finally surrenders the need to be right and accepts his emotions of fear and shame that are underneath the anger. For the first time in his life he can be present to those emotions of fear, abandonment and shame – and consequently – release them into the open.
I often recommend my clients to cause conflict on purpose with their friends and partners – encouraging the creation of moments during which opportunities for vulnarability exist for both people. This is how you too can learn to surrender logic and open up to emotion underneath the mind.
Let’s look at the previous example again. The partner who stayed at home could approach his lover with these words:
“Listen, I know you wanted to see a movie. I should have gone with you, instead I just sat here and got upset at you for abandoning me; it’s really not about the movie, it’s about us being together. I made a mistake. I apologize. I love you.”
Now, we have vulnerability – letting go of ego. If you don’t have conflict you won’t have the opportunity to see that. without the vulnerability, the partner who went to the movies would have never noticed that his lover cared about him so much – that he was willing to let go of his own ego/stubburness.
The moment when he noticed his partner’s vulnerability, when he felt that he was cared for, will be the new foundation for security and safety in that relationship for many, many years to come. In the absence of conflict those signals are difficult to notice, those moments when people test one another’s commitment levels and loyalty. Thus conflict, in that sense, is very important.
Conflict is also important to accept because it is the result of trials and errors along our path to success and happiness in our lives.
If you don’t try different things in life, if you don’t open yourself up to go out of your comfort zone and take risks then you’re not going to live a full, open, and adventurous kind of life.
Here’s the thing about that, though: whenever you’re going to live that kind of life you will be causing conflicts. You’re going to be experimenting, taking risks, and stepping on some peoples’ toes all because you’re going to be pursuing your ideas, your dreams, and your vision.
Conflict happens when you’re living your vision, living your purpose, and living your goals because conflict is part of everything new, everything that is alive. When there is risk involved conflict is always waiting to happen, it’s just a question of how you’re going to handle it.
It’s about choice. Either you will become conflict-friendly, or conflict-averse and thereby preventing yourself from living a full life.
I really encourage everybody who is conflict-averse, who is running away from conflict, to consider the big price that you pay for it, not only in your personal relationships but also in your professional life, in your attitudes, and in your spiritual growth.
So from now on, look at conflict as an opportunity to grow and as an opportunity for transformation.
The number one step I can ask you to take to make it easier for you to experience conflict is to determine your boundaries.
How can you determine your boundaries? We start with your values and goals. What are some of the values that you believe in, things that are very important to you that you’re not going to allow yourself or others to cross?
That’s how you set boundaries so that when you enter a conflict situation you know what to protect. Some people don’t like conflict because they’re ambiguous about their identity and about what they want in life.
Once you’re clear about what you want and who you are, and once you’re connected to an assertive language, then it doesn’t matter who you are with because you’ve got a tool-kit with you to protect yourself.
Conflict, then, becomes just a part of conversation; one day you try it, another day you try again, the fifth day you try again, and all of a sudden you will see that conflict is just a normal type of interaction in everyday life.
So I hope that from now on you have a different perspective on conflict. Conflict is actually a wonderful thing when done properly and is something you can look forward to because that’s how you can really get to know who another person is.
There is a saying: push somebody against a corner and you will really find out who they are. Conflict, on some level, does that to people. So if you are dating somebody brand new, cause a little bit of tension, cause some conflict, and you will see whether he has what it takes to be a lover and to be a loyal, long-term friend. Conflict brings with it many advantages that are overlooked by most people who try to be politically correct.
I hope that this has been helpful for you. I look forward to sharing more with you in other videos and until then go out there, think big, don’t be afraid of conflict, stay present, and be a leader in your life today.