September 14, 2019
What are you not seeing about the conflicts you’re having?
When Conflicts Give You a Headache
The emotional stress of being in conflict with others can take its toll on you, even causing headaches or other stress-related physical problems.
When conflicts are giving you a headache, literally or figuratively, you can learn more about how to stop that phenomenon. One thing that can help is expanded awareness practices, in which you open a channel of communication with the aspect of your awareness that is hidden from you when you are in ordinary consciousness. Meditation is an example.
Calm your mind and open yourself to insights from your unconscious. Meditate. Then pose this question: “What am I not seeing about the conflicts I’m having?”
One man did this, and he heard a snippet of a song that he realized was a message to stop trying to prove that he was manly. He took a walk afterward and thought about how he had heard this message—be a man! Be tough! Don’t back down!—again and again as a child and young man. Now conscious of this message, he wanted to replace it with a healthier one that would support him in better controlling his temper during conflicts. He hoped this would help him have fewer arguments and more discussions with others that were productive and respectful. He decided to write a new story for himself, one called, “Conflicts can lead me to creativity and closeness instead of causing me headaches.” It took listening to wisdom from his unconscious to recognize what message he wished he had received as a child, and he set a goal to live according to this new, better story.
What old stories are hidden inside you that need to be brought to light and rewritten? What headaches might go away if you were to access insights from your unconscious that have been hidden from your awareness? How might your relationships improve?
A story called “I have to win arguments” may be getting in the way of something more valuable to you: having more harmonious relationships. Your unconscious might be able to offer you an insight into why you have such a strong need to see conflicts as battles between opponents—one who will win and one who will lose. The next time you meditate, consider setting an intention to gain an insight about winning versus losing or about how you handle conflicts.
You will also enjoy Managing Conflict with Others in Real-Life Situations
About the Author
Carl Greer, Ph.D., PsyD, is a practicing clinical psychologist, Jungian analyst, and shamanic practitioner. He teaches at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and is on staff at the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being. Learn more at CarlGreer.com.