Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Connection10:30, I am excited. My first mediation triad! An opportunity to mediate my own conflict! Mediating your own stuff might not sound yummy to you, but to me it sounds empowering. If I have the tools, skills and consciousness to navigate difficult conversations -especially those where I think my sense of worth and mattering are on the table- I am sure that I can create happy, healthy and safe relationships with anyone I want.

We start with me being the disputant, Faith as my counterpart and Candace as the mediator.

It works fine. I’m getting my point across, and I understand what Faith -as my counterpart- is saying.

Then we change seats. I am the mediator, Faith is me, and Candace is my counterpart. Faith -as Elly- starts to speak. I am immediately triggered by what she says, and especially how she says it. It sounds very much like me, but not the ‘me’ I want to be. And certainly not the ‘me’ I want to be seen.

I move to the self-connection chair. An empty chair next to me, where I can move on to, when I am triggered. To practice such a safe space in my own mind. And while I sit there, I focus on my breath. Real simple. One breath in, one breath out. Then I focus on my feelings. One breath in, one breath out. I feel anxious and scared. Then I connect to my needs. One breath in, one breath out. I want acceptance for who I am, from others, and certainly from myself. Then I switch back to the mediator seat.

During this whole self-connection practice, I listen to Faith playing me. I reflect her back and check if I get her, to nurture her need to be heard.

This self-connection practice doesn’t take me out of connection, it takes me more deeply in it. It expands it, by adding self-connection to it. While I am connecting to you, I am connecting to myself as well. And this self-connection helps me to bring the full me to the table, all of me. My fears, frustration, sadness, joy, anything I feel and need in this moment. And the awareness that those are just experiences in this moment, that I am more than that.

It enriches the connection to an extent that I find surprising. You don’t need to express what is happening inside, as long as you get it yourself and you embrace it with compassion.

It allows you to acknowledge your pain, and putting it on hold for now, and relate to the other from the heart, instead of from  your subconscious trigger.

And that creates a whole lot of freedom, and a whole lot of loving.


You want help to practice self-connection in the heat of the moment? Contact me 512-589-0482. I am honored to help you.

Thank you, Ike Lasater and John Kinyon for this practice and insight.

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