Tender underbellies

Conflict with another person can be so painful...

Particularly in these situations where you're so at once intimately tied to another person, and yet, still don't even know them, it's easy to get your feelings hurt. And to feel attacked. Judged. And then, on the heels of hurt feelings -- anger and self-defense.

If only we could open up the lids of each other's minds and eavesdrop on what was inside. Often, you would find someone who was just as scared as you were, just as hurt. Someone who felt just as misunderstood and unappreciated.

And what would happen then?

When we see the truth of someone's shameful feelings, the stuff they're trying to hide, our hearts usually soften. We still may not be able to form a bridge to them. But at least we can have compassion for them. And we can depersonalize what it is that we think they're thinking and feeling towards us. And maybe we can have a little bit more compassion for ourselves too for being stressed and worried.

We're all so afraid of being hurt. Of being seen as less than. Of being taken advantage of.

And yet, our defenses often keep us so far apart from each other. Away from opportunities for change, for breakthroughs. Away from that reassuring sense of connection, the love and support that we're all craving.

I know these conflicts between the two families can be fraught with fear, with pain, with misunderstandings, with slights and confusion.

But consider... The other side might be just as befuddled as you are and has nowhere near the amount of strategy and calculation that you might be assigning to them!

So what might be possible then?!