How do you wage war?

Reading the newspaper is really not lifting my mood up these days. I try to follow what is happening in Ukraine (while taking care of my emotional well-being by not reading “too much”).
Awareness of this war triggers all sorts of emotions in me:

  • I’m angry at Putin, the Russians, the political Elite in general, and so on.
  • I’m afraid this war will only get worse, that many more will die.
  • I’m sad for all the human beings that have lost their lives and for the millions that had to leave their country.

And when I realize how little I can do about it all, despair and helplessness creep in.

That’s because really, this war and all the political affairs around it, are beyond my scope as a single human being. Politicians might feel more empowered because they can kinda do something, but we everyday people can’t really do much. And when we feel we can’t do anything, that’s not so good for our psyche.

So, different people might have different ways of coping with that:

  • Some use righteous anger, to at least sense that they are right and then by ranting they might feel like they are doing “something”.
  • Some might start helping to feel empowered.
  • Some might stick their head in the ground and try to ignore what’s happening.
  • Some might try to stay informed, to feel like they know what’s going on. (I’m a bit in this camp.)

These are all coping strategies of a distressed human organism. While some are more helpful than others, all are valid in their own strange way.

What I wonder though is: how can wars like this happen?

And I don’t mean the political reasons, which are all embedded in the history of Russia, Europe, and the USA… No, I wonder what kind of psyche can start a war like this. What does it take for people to enact this kind of political brutality? I read an interesting article in the Atlantic about Putin which sheds a bit of light on his history, his current situation, his fears, and so on. I would recommend you read it if you want a little insight into his psyche…

But actually, I want to take it one step closer and get more personal. Because really, that’s the only place where I am empowered to do anything. (And I also believe that is how we can truly change the world, by becoming more peaceful inside and by learning to communicate better.)

So my question is this: How do I wage war?

I see I’m waging two wars: one inside and one outside.

Inside of myself, different parts are in conflict. I might give them names and conflicts like so:

  • Creative Visionary Doer vs. Here-Now Relaxer
  • Relationship Lover vs. Independence Hero
  • Fun Seeker vs. Purposeful Workhorse

And outside I might be having all sorts of conflicts with my fellow human beings like:

  • Being angry at my Ex for all sorts of breakup stuff
  • Being angry at my Lover for not being here with me and for having another lover
  • Being angry at my RH facilitator friend, for choosing to do a workshop with somebody else.

So then the question is this: how can I resolve these conflicts?

And then the obvious answer: by communicating.

For inner conflicts, I allow the different inner parts to rise up by noticing that they are here, then becoming aware that I can step back and watch these parts. This way I see that I really am not any of these parts. I am awareness, and I have the ability to go into and feel each of these parts, to “become” one part, and then step back again.

Many methods can help me become more conscious of different parts and “work” with them: Sometimes I let different parts “speak” when I journal. Or I might do “chair work” with these polarities and let them talk to each other. Underneath any kind of method, an attitude of inner openness, curiosity, and a loving presence are needed. (Speaking about this inner attitude, I can recommend the book Radikale Erlaubnis by Mike Hellwig to German readers.)

For outer conflicts I love the communication practice called “Radical Honesty”… it helps me to really show up, express my emotions honestly, and then to get over my shit.

And when I have resistance to speaking with somebody (like my ex right now), then it’s a good time to become aware of the inner conflict I have: like Honest Connector vs. Hurt Child. It’s no good to force the Hurt Child to talk when it doesn’t want to. So I can first allow time and awareness so this conflict can resolve, and then outside communication will happen almost by itself.

All right. So much for me.

Now my question: How do you wage war inside and outside?
And what conflicts could you give more attention to right now?

Love, Sean

Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash