For the last few days, I have been watching a small bird (a Long-tailed Tit, I think) as it fights the birds it sees reflected in the windows of our house, attacking a different window at different times of the day. At first I thought it amusing, but soon became concerned that the poor bird would injure itself, or at the very least waste precious days of its life fighting an enemy that didn’t exist.
I asked Archangel Michael if he could help it to stop this behaviour, but was told that he was not able to interfere, as the bird has free will to fight its reflection if it wants to.
It has taken me a few days to realise that there was a message there for me.
I realised that the message was that the bird’s behaviour is a reflection of our human behaviour.
When we are moved to fight someone else, it is because they are exhibiting an attribute which needs attention in ourselves.
I remember when I was a teenager, I had some huge fights with my father. One time, I even bit him on the hand when he was trying to physically force me to do something that I didn’t want to do at the time. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that the fight was not about anything important, but merely that both of us were stubbornly holding on to our right to be right.
I’m sure this bird is right, that this is his territory, and another bird shouldn’t really be encroaching on that territory. But how important is it to be right?
What would have been the consequences if I had just accepted my father’s suggestion firstly, and then his demand, that I do what he desired? I know that what he wanted me to do would have benefited me in the long run, but I wasn’t thinking of the long run, I was only thinking of my rights as an independent being to decide when and if I mended the elastic in my pyjamas, instead of keeping them up with a safety pin.
My own stubbornness was reflected back to me in my father, and his stubbornness was reflected back to him in me.
All conflict with others is a reflection of something which needs to be addressed in ourselves.
But the root cause of conflict is fear. I was afraid that I would lose my independence by submitting to my father’s will. I cannot speak for him as to what his fear was at the time. I guess the bird’s fear is that the bird in the window would steal his food or his mate.
Next time you feel a disagreement escalating into conflict, it might be time to count to ten to give you time to consider just what attributes within yourself you are seeing in the other person. The easiest way to de-escalate a conflict is to agree with the other person, or perhaps agree to disagree. It would be worth asking yourself if you need to be right about this, and also what it is you are afraid of.
To admit that you don’t need to be right takes a certain amount of courage and self-confidence. It takes courage to let go of whatever fear has caused the conflict, and self-confidence to know that the opinions of others have no bearing on your self-worth, or even on your life, if you believe it so.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t stand up for what you believe in. But once you have expressed your beliefs, is there anything to be gained by arguing or escalating a conflict? If the other person is entrenched in their own beliefs, further argument is unlikely to convince them. But do not be disillusioned. You may have planted a seed in their mind which will later grow as it is watered by some other information the person is presented with.
I would be interested in your views on this. Can you see a measure of truth in these suggestions, with the benefit of hindsight regarding a previous conflict? Can you see how you might avoid conflict in the future? Might these same suggestions help resolve conflicts between groups or even nations?
I would be happy to discuss your thoughts on this, and discuss any conflict to which you are having difficulty finding a solution. You can contact me on Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. (You can also find me on Instagram and TikTok, but they are not the best platforms for private discussions.)