Conflict doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it can open you to new possibilities for greater happiness and fulfillment.
Could you look over your life and not think of one thing that is making your skin crawl? Congratulations, you must be of another race. Last I checked, humans are all gorgeously flawed. We are messy, sometimes thoughtless, and make tons of mistakes. While some strive for impeccable greatness, I prefer to experience the joy in these perfect imperfections because it lets me enjoy the world without the pain conflict might otherwise bring.
One of my biggest teachers to date, the fabulous Byron Katie, claims that “reality is kind”. She believes we are the creators of our own pain by believing our thoughts. Her work also reminded my psyche that those around us that spark intense rage prove to be our profound guides. It helps me see the world as a peaceful place. She encourages us to learn and grow from our struggles, rather than be bogged down in our ego-centric fear and hate.
As a jeweler designer, consultant, and custom engagement ring builder, I’m used to daily doses of conflict. Manhattan’s diamond district is a melting pot of creeds, classes, ethnicities and viewpoints. I’m learning new lessons every day. Here are some helpful tips for thriving in diametric situations:
- Use your anger as your guide.
Whenever I walk into a room and I’m immediately disgusted or disgruntled by the mere sight of a person, I know they will provide the most enlightenment. They always do. An emotional terrorist is always the greatest test for your deep-seated grace and dignity
What do you really want to say? Does it need to be said by you? Does it need to be said right now? I often find myself breathing deeply before I speak to a client or a vendor. Being a female in a male-dominated profession has always been an interesting landscape. I repeatedly have to pardon sexual innuendos, rude comments or wrongful assumptions about my jewelry acumen. I don’t get mad. I get quiet. And then I move on to work with someone who respects my passion and my craft.
- Do the right thing, no matter the cost.
Sometimes the moral way isn’t the easiest way. I had a client approach me about procuring a five carat pear-shaped diamond for his husband’s engagement ring. The commission would have paid my rent for six months, but I walked. This client wasn’t concerned about whether or not the stone was conflict-free, but I was. And because I let myself walk away from that engagement, I keep my karma in check and my head hitting the pillow a little easier each night.
- “I don’t know” is an answer.
One of my most visceral memories of rage is when a diamond dealer told me, “You don’t know what you are talking about.” The times we feel the most anger are usually the result of fear. Looking back, part of me was thinking, “Maybe he is right.” Surrendering to the unknown never makes you the weaker man. It takes a lot of strength to develop humility.
If you aren’t experiencing some type of discord in your life, than maybe you just aren’t living. But when you start to welcome the tidings rather than the drama, life becomes a bit more enchanting. It gives you the opportunity to free yourself from the negative baggage and move your heart back into more important matters. Never forget your primary purpose. Mine is to make the world a bit more beautiful.