By Dr. Kate Siner Francis

If we do not engage in a process of looking at the past, we often find ourselves running into what we most fear. It may seem to us that we are powerless to avoid this, but, by looking at the patterns in our history, we can start to change our future. As leaders, we will, without a doubt, see our past repeat in our everyday dealings with others. To make the kind of impact we want to make, we need to understand how to work with the conflicts that can arise.

Try this: Look at a situation in your life where there is a conflict or a problem. You are not able to act or be the way you want to or you are unable to untangle yourself from the problem at hand. Use the skill of distilling, which is what people mean when they says “the heart of the matter”.   If you were to distill the essence of this conflict situation, what would it be? Or, if you were to ask a third-party looking at the situation, what would they think was the heart of the conflict? How might this third-party characterize it?

Once you are clear and have written the essence of the situation, ask yourself the question, "When was the first time I experienced this?" Sometimes the first time is when you were very young; sometimes it is our teens or early adulthood. Try to get as early of a memory as possible, because, usually, if you experienced it later in your life, you also experienced it earlier in your life.

Here are some more questions you can ask yourself about this situation:

  • What did you learn from this situation that you still believe now?
  • What would be true or how would your life be different if you had believed something different?

You can repeat this process with any conflict or problem area in your life. You can cut it down to its essence; you can look at when you came to believe what you experienced; you can look at what you have come to believe. Often, as we explore this, we will see that these conflicts betray parts of the lower self - the root of these conflicts is a fear that we will be abandoned or hated, or a hatred that we hold for others.  This awareness is the first step in transforming your pattern.