What the conflict reveals about human relating, and the way we go to war with each other.

Nov 07, 2023

There are some very obviously heartbreaking things happening in the world right now, death, destruction, trauma, colonialism etc. At the time of writing this post, the Israeli-Palestine conflict raging and the world is divided over it too. 

A lot of us are going through a disillusionment of our beliefs about the world, beliefs we may have had that humans have evolved beyond this, that no one would do horrible things like this, that people couldn't possibly sacrifice so many lives for land, gas, money, revenge. A lot of ways we relate to the world are being shaken up and questioned.

And not only is there a war/genocide happening but others around the world are going to war with each other over how to respond and what to believe, which adds even more violence, hate and pain to the mix.

Whether you speak out about either 'side' or try to speak from a middle ground, you'll likely receive hate and projections right now.

You can get fired and cancelled for sharing your opinions.

Friends become enemies

Strangers are physically harmed and even killed...

Why do we act this way?

As @holisticlifenavigation beautifully pointed out in some of his shares, when we witness violence, war and suffering on the news and through our phones, our bodies and nervous systems see the threat and don't actually know that we aren't the ones in threat, and they brace and prepare to fight, run or freeze. We start to have a trauma response activated and that energy comes alive- yet we are not in the war zone, we're at home or on a bus. But our bodies are filling with hormones and preparing to defend ourselves.

That energy needs to go somewhere, we feel threatened in our system and next moment we see a comment that doesn't align with our beliefs, and we attack. When we're activated we are more in a dualistic mode of good/bad right/wrong. We are in reactivity and don't have the ability to respond from our most compassionate, loving selves.

Trauma stops us from seeing nuance and complexity. It wants to make everything simple and black and white. Our systems have a better chance at surviving when we can quickly discern what is a threat and what is safe.

But the 'truth'? This particular war has some much complexity and so many 'sides'. I know the more I have researched, listened to people I don't agree with and looked at all the factors the more I see that it is absolutely not as simple as people want to make it out to be- though of course there is also the simple need to stop the killing of innocent Palestinean and Israeli lives. 

This dualistic mode of survival response also makes us conflate things that probably aren't true. Someone says 'Free Palestine' and the person hears 'I don't care about Jews'. You say 'Hamas must be defeated' and they hear 'I'm ok with genocide'. We take simple statements and attach a bunch of meaning to them based on what 'side' we fall on, our biases and the simplification of a very complex thing.

So we go to war with each other. If you share the wrong thing, you're a horrible person. If you don't share anything, you're a privileged asshole who doesn't care. You try to add nuance to the conversation, you're bypassing the truth of the simplicity of taking a side. No right way, all choices wrong in someone's eyes.

I'm always shocked how someone can enjoy years worth of content and commentary from a person, then one single comment can have them pushed off the pedestal and put in the sin-bin. I have felt this come through me too. I very nearly impulsively unfollowed someone who I really respect and love their work because I seriously disagreed with a few comments they made about this situation, but I decided to get curious, take a breath and stay open to their opinion because it is formed by information I don't have and a perspective that is different to mine, and I've learned quite a few things from them on this subject, even if I still seriously disagree with some of their comments.

What if we could take a few breaths, feel the discomfort of not agreeing with someone, and allow ourselves to get curious about WHY they formed that opinion rather than condemning them based off perhaps a few sentences or even a few words?

Everyone's opinions and beliefs are based off the information they have been exposed to and their life experiences- what if you could broaden your perspective by listening?

Everyone will be called to deal with this shocking world event in different ways. Some will feel the call to action and they have the capacity and space to take a stand. They will feel strongly pulled to a perspective and a voice, and speak from that place. Others will go into deep freeze and collapse, unable to know what to say or do. That is a natural and normal stress response, and nothing to shame. Others will feel more neutral and not want to be involved, knowing that wars and conflicts are happening all over the world all the time and that certain ones get more attention than others, so why get involved anyway?

Who is to say that the way YOU respond is how EVERYONE should respond?

Why do we feel entitled to forcing and coercing others to act in the way that we feel called to act? Shaming others for speaking or not speaking? Believing there is a right and wrong way to act in this. That is another form of war, and wouldn't that energy be better funnelled towards helping the Palestinians and Israelis who are suffering, rather than creating more pain and suffering through the world through interpersonal conflict, guilt and shame?

It's not easy when we are in a trauma-response to pull back and respond from compassion, but I find just taking 3 deep breaths, relaxing the body and opening the heart before typing and speaking can make a world of a difference.

Let's not let the wars of others also create more wars and unkindness throughout the rest of the world.


So many of us are being deeply affected by the conflict going on right now, it runs deep in our nervous systems, hits our intergenerational trauma woundings and challenges our views on the world.
I know that as someone who works with nourishing the best parts out our humanity, seeing the worst of it on full show has been incredibly hard.
And the pain is worsened by witnessing the way we all treat each other over this.
The violence we perpetuate emotionally and energetically with each other in response.
If we really believe in love and peace....
Can we embody it here and now?

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