Disclaimer: This post is not intended as a complaint about my boyfriend. He’s great! It is meant as a reflection of what I learnt from yoga in conflict management.
Here’s what happened recently:
S and I are on a topic which we cannot agree on. As we exchange our views, I started to become a little defensive and attempt to brush his genuine concerns aside (I didn’t yell at him though). My behaviour got him heated and so, the volcano erupted.
I know it is too late for anything. I have officially pissed S off. He begins ranting his unhappiness and disappointment over my unacceptable behaviour.
Upon realizing the situation that I have got myself into, I back off. I become silent, no longer defensive and spend the next hour observing S. I pay attention to his choice of words, facial expression and body language. As he continues his verbal attack, I remain quiet and expressionless. Yes, he isn’t getting any response out of me.
“Why are you so nonchalant!?”, he exclaims. This one-sided argument brings his frustration to the next level. My silence is killing him.
“What’s wrong with me? What am I thinking? Why am I appearing so emotionless?”, I asked myself. Then, I recalled what Master Paluu shared with us about the art of becoming non-emotional. “Every human being has emotions. We must learn how to become non-emotional. When this is achieved, you detach yourself from emotions and understand things from a clearer perspective.”, he advised.
“Ohhhh, so all the pranayamas helped.”, I thought to myself. Despite being overwhelmed with emotions, I try to detach from all the negativity. Surprisingly, I manage to maintain a state of calmness during the tension. I become a neutral party who can now assess the situation from an unbiased point of view. It took me awhile to diagnose our problem and hence explains the silence. Regrettably, my attempt to maintain inner peace/clear state of mind is interpreted as nonchalance.
Finally, I break my silence. I clarify my so-called ‘nonchalant’ attitude and apologize for making his concerns sound unimportant in the first place. Since arguing back doesn’t solve anything, I thought it would be good for me to become a ‘listener’. Unfortunately, my intention was misinterpreted.
Anyway, we had a long debrief and made up at the end of the day. All’s good!
What intrigued me was the application of yoga concepts in our conflict:
> I am Vata-Pitta , S is Pitta-Kapha: Take the above incident as an example, he goes into a rage if I push my luck too far. On the other hand, he can get really sweet with his love, patience and warmth. Also, I tend to overthink, get fidgety and nervous easily but he is always there to assure me that things will turn out fine. As the saying goes…opposite attracts!
> Non-emotional is NOT silence: Just as I thought that I was practising the art to become non-emotional, I failed big time. In my case, my silence was misread as nonchalance and aggravated his Pitta dosha! Staying silence is not the key to become non-emotional. In fact, it is detrimental! The ability to filter emotions during communication is the key.
I’m thankful for this incident. It brought us closer and understand each other better. Most importantly, he has given me an inspiration for my blog article!
Yeo Pei Qin , PQ