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Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to De-Stress After an Argument


It can be difficult to de-stress after an argument, even if you have won your point.
Your ego-mind constantly returns to the scene of the crime and combs through every agonizing detail and words said by you and the other party.
When you recognize the ego's game is to protect itself, you are automatically beginning to de-stress.
Awareness is the key.
The ego-mind is simply frightened that it will lose control of an identity you have created for yourself. Often these identities stem from our childhood experiences.
Through life, you can have many identities such as man, woman, parent, college graduate, volunteer, your career title (such as teacher, doctor, manager, student and the list goes on.
How does this connect to de-stressing after an argument?
When your ego-mind keeps rehashing an argument that is over, realize it's the ego-mind trying to protect one of your identities. It won't let you rest.
Being a parent of three grown children, I realized I got into conflicts when I kept trying to hold onto the parent identity. When our children were small, it was important to enforce the "mother" role. However, since they are grown, and when tension arises in our conversation, I have to ask myself, "Am I trying to hold on to my identity as a parent trying to be their protector?"
I don't want to release the mother role of protector, but I do have to remind myself, that the type of mother role I am still holding onto no longer serves my relationship with my children. They are grown, and I can't protect them any longer. They have to find their own way.
Then I thought; it's more important to let go, and be the wise sage who they can come to with their questions. But, even that identity can be suffocating and stressful, trying to have the right answers.
In a work situation, arguments can easily happen, when you try to protect your "title" in the job. Even after the conflict, your mind drudges up the pain. Why? You're tightly holding onto your identity. Attention creates tension.
So, no matter if you are a parent, employee, student, friend, therapist, athlete, doctor, or teacher, realize protecting these identities can be stressful. They can keep arguments alive long after they are over. And, your body does not know the difference between an argument in the past, or one you are presently engaged. It just releases toxins to protect the body from stress. Few things are more stressful than an argument.
The answer? Ideally, the ancient spiritual wisdom of the East, such as Buddhism teaches us to let go of all identities.
I have been working on letting go of all identities. At first, it can be frightening. The ego-mind raises up on its monster hind legs and yells to me, "What are you doing!? Who will you be without your identity?"
Hearing that, I knew the ego-mind just wants to stay in control.
I managed to face the fear to allow myself to let go of certain identities, and let me tell you. It's like a boulder rock moved off my chest. I felt free and peaceful. The ego-mind often creeps back trying to play the identity-role I thought I released, so the answer is to stay awake.
In summary, arguments can be a doorbell signaling, you are holding onto an identity which is made up of memories and projections into the future. It's not real, just in your own mind. The other person in your conflict can help you be free. They are simply a projection of your ego-mind clinging to an identity.
If you can't let go of your identity, Let go and let God.
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