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23 Tips for Turning Conflict into Peace

I hope your holidays are filled with love and laughter. I bless you with inner peace that glows from your heart.

Unfortunately, holidays are not merry and bright for everyone. I’ve written this article to help people who struggle at this time of the year. However, you can apply these skills 365 days a year.

• Have loved ones passed on? Has there been a divorce or a relationship break-up? Are you still grieving?

• Are there conflicts in your family? Do you try to put on a happy face, but inside you brace against the next insensitive comment?

• Do family members refuse to come together because there is too much pain?

• Is there sickness?

Many people experience one or more of these situations. I want to extend my compassion to those of you who suffer during the holidays. When everything is supposed to happy, we may experience even deeper pain because we are hurting.

Here are 23 suggestions to help you develop inner peace and manage conflict.

1. First, choose to develop inner peace. You don’t have to know how to do it or even be good at it. Just choose it. Ask God to help you. Make a commitment to develop personal mastery even if your mother criticizes you. As a metaphor, if you want to become a black belt karate master, you begin with a white belt. Over time and with lots of practice, you develop high level skills.

2. Notice when you first begin to get upset. Don’t wait for the pressure to build up. It will be more difficult to manage. Observe yourself. Does your voice get edgy? Do you want to fight back? Do you emotionally withdraw? Do you get heady instead of being heart-centered? Do you breathe shallowly? Do your muscles tighten up? That’s what happens when we feel threatened.

3. Take a time-out to center yourself. Soothe your nervous system. It needs help because it went into hyper-arousal when you felt threatened. Our natural reactions are fight, flight or freeze. You might want to excuse yourself and go to the bathroom for some privacy. Or, go for a walk. Take a few deep breaths. Inhale to the count of four. Hold your breath to the count of four, and exhale to the count of eight.

If you go for a walk, count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. with every step you take. Breathe into your heart center and imagine your favorite beautiful place in nature.

4. Focus your attention on the people who love you and support you. Breathe that love into your heart. Place an imaginary protective bubble around yourself that envelops you and all the people who support you.

5. Ask for spiritual guidance from God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or however you conceptualize your spiritual support. Don’t just complain. Open your mind and listen to what God wants to communicate to you. Write it down if you can. It will sink in better. God will have a hard time getting through to you if you don’t ask for help. God gives you free will and waits to be invited into your heart and mind.

6. Have compassion for the part of you who struggles. If you try to be tough and stuff your emotions, you’re in effect telling a hurt part of yourself that it is unloved. I often think of this as my inner child. None of us like feeling unloved and neither do our inner family members.

Find the inner family member who feels hurt or angry or scared. Invite them to share their innermost feelings with you. You have a nurturing parent inside of you and the Holy Spirit who is compassionate. Listen to the pain of the inner child. Be empathetic. Ask your inner wise self and God for comfort. This process develops emotional and spiritual intimacy within your internal family. This will help you feel centered again.

You can experience inner peace no matter how others respond to you.

7. Remember, anger often covers up hurt, fear or a sense of rejection. If you lead with your anger or emotional distance, you’ll pull for defensiveness from others. If you lead with your softer feelings, you’ll pull for empathy. I know that’s challenging, but that’s what personal mastery looks like.

8. Take responsibility for your own emotional reactions. Don’t blame others. What arises from within you is the material from your own psyche. It’s your stuff. Own it.

I know it’s tempting to blame others and get angry with them when they don’t behave the way you want them to. You feel more powerful when you’re angry or stoic. But this is not the way to genuine empowerment, nor is it the way to inner peace. It perpetuates the cycle of suffering within yourself and your family.

9. You don’t have control over changing other’s reactions. Accept that. All you can do is take responsibility for returning yourself to inner peace.

10. When there’s a conflict, don’t get quiet or blow up. After you center yourself, apologize for anything you can take responsibility for.

11. Reach out to repair the relationship breach. Begin with a soft sincere voice and look directly into the other person’s eyes.

12. Tell your family member something positive … how much they mean to you … or give them a sincere compliment. Affirm them. That helps build an emotional attachment.

13. Tell them what is hurtful to you. Speak about your own emotions. Share the interpretations you made and check them out for accuracy. Don’t assume you are right. Get feedback and keep an open mind. Don’t analyze the other person and make them wrong. People tend to get defensive when you do that.

14. Invite them to share their feelings. Listen to understand.

15. Unless they have lots of training in communication skills, they may not take personal responsibility or listen well. Have compassion. They are doing the best they can. Listen for the heart of their pain.

16. Empathize and validate their feelings whenever you can. You don’t have to agree with them. Don’t argue about the facts and stay in your head. Express that you genuinely care about their pain.

17. After several interchanges, hopefully, your hearts will be more connected. Ask: “What can I do to support you right now?” Listen to understand.

18. Make a promise to help lessen their pain. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Do what you can.

19. Ask this question if you feel it is appropriate: “Would you like to know what you can do to support me right now?” Develop warmth and caring first.

20. Offer concrete specific suggestions. Focus on creating solutions rather than continuing to complain.

21. You may not do any of this perfectly. Do what you can. Start with one small step. Which suggestion do you want to start with? Practice that one thing.

22. Remind yourself of your goals. Put a post-it note on your bathroom mirror, your desk or your car dashboard. Set alarms on your smartphone. Choose a picture that symbolizes your goal and set it as wallpaper on your phone or computer. Make a sign and hang it on the door as you exit your house.

23. Be compassionate with yourself when you fail. Be compassionate with others. We all carry pain, and we don’t always know how to express it in the wisest way. Practice, practice, practice. That’s what it takes to move from a white belt to a black belt karate master.

Well, there you have it. I’ve given you two blueprints. One to manage your emotional reactivity and one to repair relationship breaches. I know it’s easier said than done. It takes practice just like anything else. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.

Blessings to you for inner peace, wisdom and love.

Warmly,
Benita A Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor 

Would you like to improve your conflict management skills and experience more inner peace? Video and audio conferences are available worldwide. In-person visits and intensive retreats take place in Georgia, USA. Ask for a complimentary 10-minute phone interview to see if we are a good fit. Complete the contact form on either of my websites:

www.SensitiveIntrovert.com

www.Flourishing-Lives.com

Watch these videos:
Click here to watch the video about my bestselling book: The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert, Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self.

Click here to learn about research by Dr. John Gottman on what makes masters and disasters of marriage.
“Four Horsemen: Don’t Let Them Ruin Your Marriage.”

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Marriage Essentials: Appreciation and Affection

Do you know that expressing appreciation is one of the essential ingredients of a happy marriage? That’s right. According to Dr. John Gottman’s research, we must express at least five positive interactions to neutralize the impact of one negative interaction. In really happy marriages, couples express 20 positives to every one negative. The mostly destructive interactions contain criticism, defensiveness, contempt or stonewalling. When we express ourselves in this way without effective repair attempts, Gottman predicts divorce with 94% accuracy. Read more

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Newsletter May 2013

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Be compassionate. Speak up. Reach out.

Blairsville, GA Office

Blairsville, GA Office

Do you know someone suffering from depression, grief, trauma or anxiety?  It’s pretty common. One in four adults will experience some kind of mental health difficult challenge during their life.

Too many people suffer needlessly. Well-meaning family members may think their loved one is just being lazy moping around the house, when in fact, they are clinically depressed. A high-achiever may believe they work best under pressure. But when they live with anxiety for several years, it may result in heart disease. Trauma from abuse (physical, verbal, emotional and sexual) may result in anxiety, addiction, depression or thoughts of suicide.  People often think they come through hurtful experiences unscathed, but rarely is that true. Emotional eating and  top the list of symptoms that are only the tip of the iceberg. We must look deeper for the true cause and heal there.

It’s not only individuals who are affected by mental illness. Marriages and parent-child relationships can be ruined when people don’t have the ability to be truly present with their loved ones.

People who grow up in families with turmoil, yelling, icy emotional distance, abuse and frequent criticism are at greater risk for mental illness. If you are a highly sensitive person, you are more susceptible to depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

You can help stop the needless suffering in your family by removing the stigma of asking for help. If you suspected your loved one had heart disease, you wouldn’t think twice about telling him or her to go to the doctor.

Smyrna, GA Office

Smyrna, GA Office

Share these videos to educate your loved ones.  Sometimes, people think they are weak if they have to ask for help. But actually, it takes more courage to reach out for help than to do nothing and continue to suffer.  Calling a professional is a sign of strength. You may contact me by clicking here.

Mental Health Awareness Month PSA

Representative Schlossberg speaks on legislation for Mental Health Awareness Month

Remember: When you take care of yourself, you help all those around you.  What we do (or don’t do) impacts others.

Are you looking faster progress than private therapy alone? Attend these intensive retreats where you have many hours to dive deep into healing.

Retreat Venue, Young Harris, GA

Retreat Venue, Young Harris, GA

Deep Emotional Healing Retreat 7/13/13.

Explore, Excavate, Express Your Authentic Self.

Do you find yourself repeating unhelpful patterns even though you don’t want to? Do limiting thoughts and “monkey-mind chatter” create unwanted worry? Do you want to create a relationship that finally works?  Unresolved emotional wounds can sabotage your best intentions.

 

 

panama-city-beach “Annual Beach Retreat” Aug. 31- Sept. 5, 2013. 

“Create the Life of Your Dreams” 5 nights at the beach.  

Dig deeper than ever before. Heal at depth so you can make your fondest dreams come true!  Register early. Tuition increases monthly. Panama City Beach, Florida

Contact Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor to inquire about private psychotherapy or intensive retreats. In-person, phone and skype appointments are available.

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Deep Emotional Healing Retreat

This Semi-Private Retreat has a maximum of six people.

Unresolved emotional wounds decrease your self-esteem, self-confidence, and ability to create healthy personal and professional relationships. Even though you are successful on the outside, you may feel empty inside … a lack of wholeness … little inner peace.

You may have experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse. You may have experienced the anguish that comes from having an emotionally distant parent.

You may yearn for intimacy, but be afraid of it at the same time. You may attract emotionally unavailable people. You may not know how to effectively communicate to resolve conflicts so that your personal and professional relationships flourish. Your intimate relationship may suffer because you cannot be as emotionally close or as sexually open as you would like.

The part of your brain that tries to protect you might have become stuck in survival mode: fight, flight or freeze. This can generate a number of symptoms including anxiety, depression, chronic worry, self-sabotage, pessimism, procrastination, OCD, substance abuse, and emotional eating.

LkChtg 7Apr12

Lake Chatuge. Photo by Benita Esposito

The Promise of the Retreat:  You’ll experience rigorous yet gentle leadership tailored to your unique learning style to ensure your success. You’ll receive insights so compelling that you will naturally flow into effective action instead of getting bogged down in self-defeating patterns. You’ll be in a safe place so you can allow Love to flood you, heal you and release wave after wave of creativity. Bask in the sweetness of spiritual intimacy, drawing ever closer to the Divine, the source of all healing. Your transformational journey will be accelerated in this beautiful Nature setting: the Blue Ridge Mountains overlooking Lake Chatuge.

When: View the retreat schedule for current dates.

Where: Young Harris, GA. Enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains overlooking Lake Chatuge.

Breathwork is the primary activity of the day. It helps you access memory, emotion and spirituality in a profound way.

Click on the following links to learn more about what happens in breathwork:

Breathwork Q&A.wisdom-of-crowds-control

Breathwork Testimonials: Relationships, self-esteem, physical healings, career success.

2 Client Stories about their Breathwork experiences in our Annual Florida Beach Retreat

Healing Abuse. In Susan’s Breathwork, God showed her where the abuse pattern started: at conception.

Healing Trauma of an abortion and open-heart surgery.

Healing an Eating Disorder. This client was not focusing on healing her eating disorder. It occurred as a side-benefit.

Reserve your seat now. This small intimate retreat consists of 6 people.  A minimum of 3 private sessions are required before attending this retreat. Participation is by invitation only. Complete the Contact Form for a complementary 10-minute interview.

NOTE: If you are allergic to cats, please let me know. I have one cat who will not be in our meeting space if it is a problem for you.

Cupids Falls, Young Harris, GA

Cupids Falls, Young Harris, GAReserve your seat now.

Retreat FAQs

TESTIMONIALS

“I had never really even entertained the idea of doing a retreat. Scared me to death. Once my spirit decided it was the place to be, then it was so powerful that I had to surrender. So far it’s been one life changing experience after another. Right now I am flying. Can you tell? I mean high! I feel like running up this path barefooted if I have to.” – V.S., Psychotherapist

Last night while soaking in the hot tub, I had a mental slideshow of past retreats and how transformative they’ve been for me.  For many years there’s been a deep ache inside of me because my father didn’t affirm me. This unresolved pain caused great difficulty with my romantic relationships. During the breathwork session at the last retreat, while I was in a dreamy state, I appeared as a radiant bride and my Dad finally gave me the adoration I have wanted all my life. Now six months later, I still feel the love that was planted in me during that retreat. What a priceless journey, worth more than gold!  – T.H, Realtor, Health Coach

“By working with Benita Esposito over the last eight years in one-on-one and in group settings, I have deeply explored the outer reaches of consciousness, and the inner depths of my body-mind-soul-emotions. Via strong empathetic connection with me, Benita has intuitively coached me through issues so I can create healthy personal and business relationships. I benefit most from group retreats where there is a mixture of people’s energies. The extended time to work on things is crucial to digging deep and making major changes, while the beautiful Nature settings give me the soothing arena I need to process the experiences. Jump at the chance to be involved in a retreat as often as possible. It is an honor and a privilege to have Benita as the co-creator of my true destiny and my journey towards my Authentic Self.”  ~ L.S., Software Engineer

Lodging:  click here for a list of hotels.

Facilitator: Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor

To inquire about counseling services or intensive retreats, click the Contact Us form. Enter your question and comments. If that does not work, enter your contact information in the “comment box” on this site.

Refund Policy
*There will be no refunds within 30 days of the event. Cancellation must be writing. Fax to 706.896.0031 or email to Benita@EspositoInstitute.com.
* 31-45 days before the retreat, there will be a 50% refund, minus a $35 processing fee.
* 46 or more days before an event, there will be a full refund minus a $35 processing fee.

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Deep Emotional Healing Mini-Retreat 11/16/13

Explore, Excavate, Express Your Authentic Self  fall-leaves

Even though you are a high-achiever, there’s probably at least one area of your life that you would like to improve.
We’re all on a journey towards expressing more and more of our Authentic Self. As we develop greater personal and spiritual mastery, our outer life reflects the shining results.

What do you want to improve in your life?

RELATIONSHIPS:  Do you long for healthy relationships, but dysfunctional patterns keep cropping up? Do you want to change your part of the pattern so you can finally BE healthy in relationships, and experience the kind of love you have always wanted?

CAREER: Would you like to experience the joy, emotional support and financial remuneration you desire? Would you like your job to be an expression of your spiritual calling? Do you sense the creativity within you, but something holds you back? Do you want to leave a legacy to make the world a better place?

HEALTH: Do you experience illness, pain or weight issues?  Do you sense there might be an emotional, spiritual or life-style component?

SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT: Even though you are a high-achiever, do you sometimes feel an emptiness way down deep inside?  It might feel like anxiety. Do you want to feel whole by developing greater spiritual intimacy?

PERSONAL MASTERY: Do you want to increase your ability to create the life of your dreams? Do you find unhelpful patterns repeating themselves even though you don’t want them to? Do limiting thoughts and “monkey-mind chatter” cause you to worry? Are you eager to increase self-awareness and express your Authentic Self in every situation?

Fall Leaves

All these challenges can be symptoms of unresolved emotional wounds that decrease your self-esteem, competence and ability to create healthy personal and professional relationships. The part of your brain that tries to protect you when you are in danger has become stuck in survival mode. This can generate a number of symptoms including pain, anxiety, depression, procrastination, OCD, addiction, and emotional eating. You may not know how to effectively communicate to resolve conflicts so that your relationships flourish. Your intimate relationship may suffer because you can’t be as emotionally and sexually open as you would like.

The Promise of the Retreat:   You’ll experience rigorous yet gentle leadership tailored to your unique learning style to ensure your success. You’ll receive insights so compelling that you will naturally flow into effective action instead of getting bogged down in self-defeating patterns. You’ll be in a safe place so you can allow Love to flood you, heal you and release wave after wave of creativity. Bask in the sweetness of spiritual intimacy, drawing ever closer to the Divine, the source of all healing. You’ll increase your intuition and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit more clearly. You’ll learn how to allow your energy to flow freely, and open your heart after being wounded. You’ll strengthen your ability to feel even the most difficult emotions, while staying present in your body. When you stop abandoning yourself, you’ll receive more love into your life. You’ll be able to truly forgive, instead of just thinking you should. You’ll deepen your ability to be emotionally intimate with your loved ones.

You’re transformational journey will be accelerated in this pristine Nature setting: the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Chatuge.

WHERE AND WHEN:  One Saturday, November 16, 2013. 9:30am-6:00pm. Young Harris, Georgia. Hiawassee

Breathwork is one of the primary activities of the day. It helps you access memory, emotion and spirituality in a profound way. Click on the following link to learn more about what happens in breathwork:  2 Client Stories

Reserve your seat now. This small intimate retreat consists of 5 – 8 people.  To apply, call 770.998.6642 or email Benita@EspositoInstitute.com. A minimum of 3 private sessions are required before attending this retreat.

Tuition: $175.00. (Singles and couples welcome. Couples receive a $20 discount.)

Early Bird Discount: $150.00 by October 13, 2013

Retreat FAQs

TESTIMONIALSBusinesswoman shouting her victory to the world

“I had never really even entertained the idea of doing a retreat. Scared me to death. Once my spirit decided it was the place to be, then it was so powerful that I had to surrender. So far it’s been one life changing experience after another. Right now I am flying. Can you tell? I mean high! I feel like running up this path barefooted if I have to.” – V.S., Psychotherapist

Last night while soaking in the hot tub, I had a mental slideshow of past retreats and how transformative they’ve been for me.  For many years there’s been a deep ache inside of me because my father didn’t affirm me. This unresolved pain caused great difficulty with my romantic relationships. During the breathwork session at the last retreat, while I was in a dreamy state, I appeared as a radiant bride and my Dad finally gave me the adoration I have wanted all my life. Now six months later, I still feel the love that was planted in me during that retreat. What a priceless journey, worth more than gold!  – T.H, Realtor, Health Coach

“By working with Benita Esposito over the last eight years in one-on-one and in group settings, I have deeply explored the outer reaches of consciousness, and the inner depths of my body-mind-soul-emotions. Via strong empathetic connection with me, Benita has intuitively coached me through issues so I can create healthy personal and business relationships. I benefit most from group retreats where there is a mixture of people’s energies. The extended time to work on things is crucial to digging deep and making major changes, while the beautiful Nature settings give me the soothing arena I need to process the experiences. Jump at the chance to be involved in a retreat as often as possible. It is an honor Waterfall_HighShoalsand a privilege to have Benita as the co-creator of my true destiny and my journey towards my Authentic Self.”  ~ L.S

More Testimonials

Lodging:  If you care to stay overnight, click here for a list of hotels. Register early.

Food: Bring a sack lunch and healthy snacks.

Facilitator: Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor

To inquire about counseling services or intensive retreats, click the Contact  form. Enter your question and contact information.

Refund Policy
*There will be no refunds within 30 days of the event. Cancellation must be writing. Fax to 706.896.0031 or email to Benita@EspositoInstitute.com.
* 31-45 days before the retreat, there will be a 50% refund, minus a $35 processing fee.
* 46 or more days before an event, there will be a full refund minus a $35 processing fee.

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