Inspiration This Week: Burning Man Statue

Every year at the burning man festival, there are an array of art installations to view. The image above is one of the art installations done in 2016. It depicts a wire framing of two adults sitting back to back, with their heads down. On the inside of these adults are two children standing with their hands reaching out to each other. The children start to glow as darkness consumes the rest. 

As the artist describes, "It demonstrates a conflict between a man and a woman as well as the outer and inner expression of human nature. Their inner selves are executed in the form of transparent children, who are holding out their hands through the grating. As it’s getting dark (night falls) the children start to shine. This shining is a symbol of purity and sincerity that brings people together and gives a chance of making up when the dark time arrives."

Theme of the Week: Connection over Stonewalling

I find this art piece to be one of the most powerful demonstrations of what happens in human conflict. When we get into conflict with our family, friends, or romantic partners, we automatically go into defense mode. When we are in defense mode, we are finding the best argument to prove our point. That often means saying or doing something to shut the other person down or out. Both parties turn their focus on winning the argument or making sure that they are heard, that they lose sight of the goal: connection.

Think about the last argument you had with someone close to you. The context of the argument is irrelevant. What were you truly searching for in that moment? No, I promise it wasn't that you were right about the directions to get to the store. It was about being heard, being seen, and being appreciated. It was about connection. What you were actually seeking was more connection with that person, but your actions have pushed them away. Which is why we usually come away from these arguments feeling resentment or defeated, because we didn't actually achieve what we were hoping: better intimacy.

Challenge this Week: Listen to Your Inner Child

Next time you have an argument with someone you care about, take a moment to listen to your inner child. Instead of listening to our obstinate adult self, what does our inner child desire in this argument? What do we actually need the most? And then see if your actions meet your end goal. If not, take a deep breath, and change course. Reach out and say what you need and remind the person that you care about your relationship with them. You'll save yourself hours or even days of suffering if you take this approach instead.

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