Have you ever found yourself in a romantic relationship, friendship relationship or work-related relationship where no matter how many times you seem to find resolve in a conflict, it feels like shortly after, it goes right back to being un-resolved? Maybe it is one single issue, where no matter how many times you re-visit the topic and reach agreement, it comes right back up again as unresolved. When this happens, it can feel like you’re living a nightmare version of groundhog’s day. But you don’t know why and you don’t know what to do to create actual resolve.
This “no resolve” pattern happens when one person involved (or more rarely both) is not seeing, accepting, owning and expressing their actual personal truth. Because of this, any time you are sitting down to resolve a conflict, you are not actually putting anything real on the table to be resolved. What is real, is being kept in the shadows... denied, disowned, and often invisible to the person themselves. But that very real, unsavory personal truth is coming out in all kinds of subconscious ways. It isn’t like it isn’t making itself known. It is, and it is making itself known all over the place. But the person whose truth it is, is blind to it. When what you are putting on the table isn’t the real personal truth, any resolution you find will be skin deep and will undo itself. It will do this because the personal truth is still there, unchanged. It will feel like you (or whoever seems to keep coming back to a position of lack of resolve) are “stuck on something”.
So you can better understand what I mean, I will give you an example. Mary owns a company. Rachel works in the company. Mary expects every member of the company to drop what they are doing and come to the board room if she decides that a company group meeting must be held so that everyone is on the same page. Every time Mary calls one such meeting, Rachel acts resentful, disrespectfully shows up several minutes late, zones out, and does not participate in group discussions. This is a problem for Mary.
They have sat down with a representative from the human resources department to try to resolve this conflict on three occasions. Each time, Rachel expresses frustration that the group meetings de-rail her focus and Rachel explains every facet of why they are necessary. Eventually, they seem to find resolve and the discussion ends in various agreement; such as the agreement that Mary will give 3o minutes leeway from when they are notified to when they are expected to arrive in the board room. And Rachel will be actively engaged and on time. This agreement lasts for one or two meetings before Rachel is right back to the same behavior. The two are both dumbfounded and confused.
The thing is, Rachel has a personal truth: Her truth, whether right or wrong, is that Mary is a Narcissistic Tyrannical Dictator. Rachel believes that Mary demanding everyone to drop what they are doing and show up at the board room is simply proof of it. On top of feeling like Mary should be different in terms of her expectations and interactions, Rachel’s personal truth is that she does not want to be told what to do or when to be where. It makes her feel controlled. A few times, Mary has brought up that it feels like Rachel has a problem with her directly. Each time, Rachel denies this and in fact says “no, I think you’re a great boss, otherwise I wouldn’t even have taken this job.” Rachel is not seeing, accepting, owning or expressing her actual personal truth. She thinks it will get her fired. But also, she is aware that she grew up in a household at odds with her tyrannical, controlling mother and suspects that the way she feels around Mary is because of the un-healed trauma of that. So, every time those feelings or thoughts come up that point to that unsavory, hidden personal truth, she will suppress them. Because of this, they are stuck until the pressure of the constantly unresolved situation gets so big that one or both can’t handle the elephant in the room, perpetual stuckness and lack of resolve. At that point, one will make a decision and take action in accordance with their deep personal truth, whether they know it or not, forcing the other to do the same.
In our example situation, it is only until later… after Rachel is fired, that she will suddenly feel safe and right to come out with her personal truth (after all, by firing her, there are no longer consequences for Rachel and Rachel thinks that Mary proved to actually be a tyrannical narcissist and is therefore, no longer suppressing the feelings and thoughts on the account of being insecure about whether or not it is really a projection from her own past). And, Rachel will also act on her deep personal truth of not wanting to run her life according to anyone else, and start to sell her art for a living, instead of get another job with a boss.
There are many reasons that someone might fail to see, accept, own and express their actual personal truth. So many reasons in fact, that I could never list them all here. For the most part, these reasons fall into two categories. 1. Not being able to see, accept, own or express your actual personal truth because you feel that existence of that personal truth within you is in and of itself bad and wrong and therefore negatively impacts your self-concept. 2.Wanting to avoid perceived or real consequences that you imagine will come as a result of seeing, accepting, owning and expressing your actual personal truth. For the sake of your understanding, I’m going to expose some of these reasons.
- We live in a world where judgement in general and definitely certain judgments are seen as bad and wrong to have in the first place. Therefore, we are bad and wrong and shameful if we have it. This does not change the fact that everyone has judgements. Judgements are a kind of personal truth. If we have decided that it is wrong or bad to have a judgement, we may deny that we have any. Alternatively, we may recognize the judgement, but spend all of our time trying to argue ourselves out of that judgement (we resist our own judgment), to no avail. We will do this to be good and do what’s right and to maintain our self-concept. To use a triggering example, a person has the judgement that black men are dangerous. But they feel that admitting to that judgement is racist and that racist people are bad and wrong. So, instead of admit to that judgement, they will deny it and attend anti-racism rallies instead, to try to make up for feeling bad about themselves for the way they actually feel towards black men.
- We live in a world where certain thoughts and feelings (that point to personal truths) are seen as bad and wrong to have in the first place. Therefore, we are bad and wrong and shameful if we have it. We may totally deny these truths and argue the opposite of these truths. For example, a mother may actually really dislike her daughter, regardless of caring deeply about her daughter. She will think, speak and act in accordance with this actual truth… but not see, accept or own up to or work with this truth because she has already decided it is wrong to have that truth and would mean she is a terrible mother. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening.
- We may be trying to avoid consequences that would come as a result of either admitting to these personal truths ourself or admitting them to others. These consequences might be very real. Or, they might be imagined. What those consequences are, depends on the specific circumstance. For example, a person might fail to see, accept, own or express the personal truth that they are miserable and feel alone in their marriage. Because they imagine that by doing so, they would feel bad about their life, unable to cope, unable to change anything and might have to look at the drudgery of marriage counseling or even the hell of divorce. Or a person may not see, accept, own or express that they totally disagree with their boss’s decision because they fear that disagreement with their boss means getting fired. Or a person may fail to see, accept, own or express that they are Gay, because they imagine that doing so would mean something horrible about themselves, and also cause them to be ostracized from their family, community and even culture.
- We may not recognize any personal truth as valid. Because of this, we may be ignoring, negating, arguing with, denying, suppressing, and even at war with one of our personal truths. We don’t see, accept, own or express it because we are against it. A great example of this is that people who are committed to self-awareness tend to feel that if any personal trauma in the past can be linked to a current personal truth or perspective, that personal truth and perspective is automatically invalid. Or we may hold a personal truth that we believe is unhealthy for us and so, we try to think and act to the opposite without ever considering whether that personal truth might actually need to be considered and even accommodated instead. Or, we may hold a personal truth that opposes the perspective of someone whom we deeply respect and whom we know is more aware and knowledgeable than we are. So, we simply try (but inevitably fail) to accept that person’s truth instead. We never bring up our own contradictory truth with ourselves or them so as to open up an opportunity to find an actual meeting of minds.
Whenever someone is not seeing, accepting, owning and expressing their actual personal truth, it will automatically feel like a gaslighting situation. For example, you will feel like someone hates you when they say they love you. Or you will feel like something is not being said, even though you talk for hours upon hours for days on end. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Gaslighting (What is Gaslighting and How to Heal From it).
Seeing, accepting, owning and expressing your actual personal truth is the necessary ingredient for actual resolve. Whether it is resolve in your own life relative to feeling better, or resolve in a relationship to establish harmony. It’s only possible to create resolve when you can take a personal truth and put it on the table. Figure out whether it is reflective of what is actually true and or what a higher truth may be. Find out what to do with that truth so as to improve your life. And figure out how to take two people’s opposing truths and find a way to make them complimentary instead of at odds. Being brave enough to see, accept, own and express your actual personal truths (regardless of whether they are right or wrong, good or bad, savory or unsavory, coming from a healed place or not) is absolutely necessary. Your concern should simply be how to best go about doing it. Because to create any actual improvement to anything you must be willing to work directly with what is actually there.