Understanding Negative Emotions During Conflict (Resolving Interpersonal Conflict Part 2)

This article looks at the value and danger of various negative emotions when it comes to resolving interpersonal conflict. This follows Part 1.

Each emotion has its own considerations and pitfalls. Negative emotions in particular are easily misunderstood. One’s first impulse can be to push them away, whether through denial or self-shaming. But negative feelings show us something is wrong, and can provide the motive towards resolving it. When tempered, understood, and balanced out, they are an essential part of finding resolutions.


Anger is one of the most common emotions in an interpersonal conflict. Whether it’s as rage, resentment, or annoyance, anger pushes back against some aspect of your reality. While it can seem unproductive, anger can also serve as fuel for resolution. We get angry because we want the situation to change!

So do not dismiss your anger. It has its own logic, validity, and purpose.

Anger can feel alarming. And while it can be short-sighted, it can also be fuel to point us towards a positive, fair, peaceful outcome.

Anger doesn’t have all the answers, though. It often presents us with easy answers, but these solutions are often blind to their true effect. They need to be balanced. Otherwise, you might end up causing harm to others. And that includes emotional harm.

Anger’s demands often amount to shortcuts. That does not mean that the anger loses its value. It just means you need a more comprehensive understanding of the situation.

Understanding Your Anger

Ask yourself: “What can I do to best support anger’s priorities while not causing harm?”

If you don’t know anger’s priorities, ask your anger what it wants. More often than not, it’ll tell you! Does it want them to shut up? Does it want them to apologize?

Whatever your anger wants, consider what positive feelings would come from getting what it wants. Often, anger just wants to feel okay. It wants harmony, or peace. For instance if it demands respect, think of what comes after the respect is achieved. Perhaps, relaxation?

You might not know a healthy way to support that underlying positive need right now. That’s okay. The first step is knowing that need. Next, ask your anger, “why do you need that?” Listen to what it has to say. There might be a story there. Maybe it’s been without peace, respect, or relaxation for a long time.

Next, ask your anger, “how can I give you your need?” Brainstorm with it. Maybe you need some time to yourself to rest and recover from a stressful situation. Maybe you need to talk it out with this person, but you’re afraid to. Whatever you come up with, make sure it’s in cooperation with your anger, not in opposition to it. You may butt heads, but there’s no need to lock it into a stalemate.

The Trap of Blame

There will be a temptation to blame the other person, to see an answer only in them taking action. Your anger might demand this. But that puts your power in the hands of another person. It leaves resolution, essentially, up to miraculous good will. It also introduces chaos, with which you’re probably already familiar! No one else ought to be solely responsible for your well-being. By continuing to blame, you keep unjust situations alive of your own will. It is for your own sake that you need to take responsibility. You need to look for what you can do to help yourself.

You may want to shout, “It’s their fault!”. But you must also be ready to ask, “Now, what can I do?”

Finding Balance when Angry

It’s also important to consider that sometimes anger can become so fierce that it blinds you to everything else. To see better in these moments, you may need to physically move to a new location. Consider basic needs. Do you need water, sleep, food? Since anger is often focused on what you can’t have, it’s important to consider what you can have. Breath, body, voice, time, food, positive relationships, or even just a walk to another room. By focusing on what you can have, you can take your power back without struggle and strife.


Each of us has our own set of behavioral standards. When we see others breaking with those standards, we can let it fuel our resentment. This in turn can keep us in a powerless place in a conflict.

When we’re self-righteous and focused on the other person, it’s easy to stay stuck. One way to move forward is to consider what our moral standard says about ourselves. What does it show us that we want in this conflict?

As hard as it is to accept, sometimes what someone likes or chooses is right for them. What matters to us is how we are affected by their choices. We might not want to be around their behavior. Or maybe something they’re doing is interfering with our lives. Judgment is essentially a symptom of poor boundaries. Thus, this emotion can help you see where you need to work on those boundaries.

Balancing Out Judgment with Understanding

Of course, judgment is not enough for defining boundaries. It advocates pushing people away, even those you might care about. You need understanding to balance it out.

Conflict between two people is a complicated situation. It involves the emotions, perceptions, and realities of two separate worlds. To properly navigate complex situations, you need information. Judgment can form a wall that blocks out the other person’s side of things. That information could make a key difference in how you would want to respond.

For example, let’s say that your friend who you regularly talk to has been silent with you for a week. You think “why would they do that? that’s rude.” You might want to tell them they should let you know when they’re going to be away for a while. That would “reinforce your boundary”, after all.

But what if you learned they actually had a sudden family emergency? Knowing this, you’d likely want to reply in empathy, and not demand as much. The issue would resolve and life would go on peacefully.

This is why you need not only understanding, but the humility to admit what you don’t know. Remain curious! There’s much to learn, and people’s realities might surprise you. At the very least, it helps you to make informed decisions.

How to Use Judgment for Good

That said, don’t shy away from the positive aspect of self-righteousness, either. We need to take its input on-board so we can discover our own boundaries.

Let’s go back to the previous example. Let’s say you ask your friend why they went silent, and they seem rather lazy and non-committal about it. Perhaps to them, remaining quiet was no big deal. Whether it’s right or not, the question still is: what do you want to do about it? They are revealing something about themselves that you need to adapt to.

Occasions like this might require you to dig deep. Maybe you have issues with abandonment. Maybe on some level you got attached to talking regularly, and you need to find a way to let go. Perhaps your inner child is hurt. Perhaps you just need space from the other person to figure out your own feelings. Find what you need, and act. But first, make sure you understand.

Fear of Vulnerability

There’s another aspect to judgment that can involve the fear of being vulnerable to others. Think about it: what happens when we think we’re morally superior to someone we feel vulnerable to? Doesn’t it give us a… minor boost in power? To feel superior pushes back against a sense of lost power. But this does not resolve a situation in a positive way. That’s why it’s more important to understand the situation, the feelings involved, and our boundaries. Superiority is a lesser win. We want pro-active, attentive action that understands and acts towards the well-being of all involved. Only then will moving forward feel truly right.


The message our sadness speaks is often one of change. It’s longing for something different. Awareness of sadness can lead us to an aspect of the situation that’s broken and needs fixing. Sadness is persistent, so finding a satisfactory direction is important.

While sadness does want things to be different, it has a sense of powerlessness towards actually attaining that outcome. It is a condition of many “if only”’s. “If only this person would be fair with me”, “if only they would acknowledge my feelings”, “if only I could find a solution that would make everything just go back to normal”. These sentiments can feel hopeless and useless for finding a resolution, but that’s not entirely true. Each “if only” highlights what you find important to preserve in the situation.

For instance, if your sadness says “if only they’d be fair with me”, this highlights two things. First, that you feel you’re being treated unfairly. Second, that whatever needs to change in the situation must uphold fairness, primarily towards yourself.

Alternatively, in the case of “if only things would go back to normal”, you likely feel chaos in the situation. What you really want here, is peace.

Find What Works

Thus, your sadness points towards something to uphold. But your sadness may cling onto one, singular way to uphold it. And that way is likely out of your control, gone, or lost. So, tough as it is, you need to look for other options. Ways to uphold what sadness values, but that can work.

What if you’re having trouble finding what works? Let’s say you know you value fairness, but can’t see how to get it. Consider these steps, replacing “fair” with whatever your value is:

  1. You can ask, “What is fair to me in this situation?”. List out your answers.
  2. Next consider, “Why can’t I have fairness?” You want to understand the obstacles in your way.
  3. Let’s say your answer is “because they won’t give it to me”, though. That doesn’t give you any options for moving forward. To get that, you want to ask, again, “Why?”. Keep asking questions, and flesh out your understanding of the situation.
  4. Eventually, you’ll see a way forward. Maybe it takes understanding the other person’s motivation. Why? Because knowing their motive can help you understand how to dialogue with them in a way that makes progress. Or, maybe your sadness just needs that understanding before it can let go and move on.

As much as sadness wants to lament the situation as it understands it, you need a way forward. Cultivate a greater understanding, and find a new way.

You want to also see how current choices may contribute to the situation. This is not to blame yourself or fuel self-punishment. Rather, it’s important to identify areas for change that you can proactively control. Our choices are under our control: whatever you choose, you can choose differently. This power to change choices is especially true when you’re aware of those choices.

The Dead-end of Self-pity

Self-pity is another thing that keeps sadness in place. When we act like we’re pitiful and powerless, we get this false promise of being saved by external forces. We believe the other could “take pity” on us, and thus give us what we want. But part of resolving a conflict is making sure both sides get what they want. Think long-term. If someone gave you something out of pity, does this make for a satisfactory relationship dynamic? By conceding to you, they are sacrificing their authenticity. They can’t work with you, and whatever “win” you get in that situation is a false one. It only serves you to be pitiful, and not well. You want to honor both individuals, otherwise you’re going down the road of isolation. Self-pity limits connection, and is essentially a dead-end when it comes to relationship conflicts.

Ask yourself: where do I feel I am pitiful? And then, what can I do to feel less pitiful? Asking these types of questions can help get you out of stagnation. You want to take responsibility for your feelings and hidden motivations. You want to step towards your power, moving forward, and finding resolution. Pity just keeps you stuck.

Overall, you want to make sure the values from your sadness take you somewhere. Keep those treasures, but find a way to move on. If you want joy in your life, you need to uphold the values you can be truly sad about missing. Sadness can lead us to new heights of happiness – we just need to learn how.


Fear locks us in. It binds our choices so we’re not able to externalize ourselves, connect, or be free. In a relationship conflict, fear often inspires us to shrink away from connection. This is because to fear it can seem like connection comes with pain, suffering, and threatened safety. These beliefs are often due to past relationship traumas, but they can also be learned. Regardless of source, fear tells us we are under attack.

There are many kinds of relationship threats. Maybe the other person is aggressive, or perhaps we’re just afraid to tell someone how we feel. The very idea of actions that interest us can feel scary. When this stops us from taking action, though, it can destroy relationships.

You need to treat fear carefully. But not with more fear! When we’re fearful, often what’s surfacing are the most visceral demands for safety inside ourselves. Imagine a fearful child. To calm them, you don’t demand courage from them or frighten them further. You reassure them, you gently teach them the nature of what they’re afraid of, and how they can be safe. It is like building a safe nest around a vulnerable egg. Bring your fear back to calm by keeping it warm, and showing it that things are safe.

Approaching your Fear

With fear, you need to acknowledge the dangers your fear keenly wants to avoid. Often in interpersonal conflict, this involves an escalation of conflict. We aren’t all experts in how to handle a volatile situation. We’re not always going to know how to avoid a blow-up from the other person. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to get better at it. And the best way to do that is to first work with your fear directly. Gently calm yourself down, make sure you aren’t going to get triggered as easily, before approaching the other.

Ask your fear: “what danger are you sensing?” Let’s say it’s that by speaking up, you’ll escalate the situation. You’ll want to figure out how you can say what you need to, then, but without causing said escalation. Maybe when you talk to the other person, you acknowledge their wants and needs first. That way, they feel heard, and are less likely to rage.

What does your fear think about your ideas? Let your fear protest to this process. Let it be a dialogue. You want both your fear and you to feel good about the decision you make. Maybe you’ll need to make plans for if things do go wrong. Maybe your plan truly is too dangerous, and you need your fear’s help to make changes.

It may seem a little odd to externalize your fear like this. But it’s important because you don’t want to confuse your fear with you. You have in you the will to move forward, and you need that voice to be strong and distinct. And you also have a desire for safety, which can help you feel stable down your chosen path.

A No-Avoidance Mindset

Remember too that ignoring or denying the conflict is one way fear tries to get away with resolving it. This leads to isolation, bitterness, and a dissatisfaction with the outcome. For instance if someone is abusing their power over you, it might be incredibly scary to stand up to them. But think about if you take no action. You’re ignoring the conflict, and you’re still getting abused! Do not let fear isolate you and perpetuate a situation that you know needs to change.


When we’re in a conflict with someone, quite often we get confused on some level. While our own behavior may make sense to us, someone else’s might not. This confusion can cause a lot of distress while looking for a way to respond a situation full of unknowns.

In your individual situation, what questions do you need answered? Consider them one at a time – try not to overwhelm yourself. You can even write a list of your questions, and look at the most important ones first.

How do you find good answers to these questions? The way be diverse, but as a general rule you want to feel out your answers. Your feelings can tell you the truth of the situation, or even piece it together by tracing around its edges.

Feeling Out The Truth

Let’s take an example. Say someone who’s normally pretty friendly to you was, one day, quite rude. They answered your question in a snappy way, and didn’t talk to you for the rest of the day. You might wonder, “What did I do wrong?”, and shrink away from the person, avoiding interaction.

But let’s say you feel things out. You may get a dialogue like this: “Well, I don’t think I did anything wrong. Really, I’m only confused about their behavior. I want them to treat me nicely, but I know I don’t control them. Their motive is unknown to me, so maybe there’s something out of the ordinary going on with them. Usually they like treating others in a friendly way, so maybe they also feel bad about what they did. I know it might be they’re getting sensitive after going through an unknown issue in their lives. I can ask them about it, gently, to find out more. Maybe I’ll ask if they’re doing okay, and say what I notice in their behavior. If I show concern, it isn’t confrontational.”

Eventually, you arrive at a feeling of satisfaction. You’re set to ask questions in a way that feels right, and you’re not making assumptions.

This is what I mean by answering your own questions. A question is only the tip of the iceberg, and it’s up to you to explore the rest. Curiosity and openness are your allies. We are confused by the things we do not understand, and we do not understand because we cannot see. So, go looking.

Confusion, then, is extremely valuable in the sense that it provides motivation to look for greater understanding – to learn. In an interpersonal conflict, confusion is showing you that by learning, you might find your resolution.


That wraps up the discussion of the negative emotions during times of interpersonal conflict. Next, we’ll be talking about the positive emotions, and what you need to consider.

Click here for Part 3

(Return to Part 1)

Dependence and Independence

Today, I’d like to talk about dependence and independence, what each of them is on the emotional level, and how one can become more independent.

Many times, when we talk about independence, it’s in reference to an interest in being able to do what we want to do. For instance, “financial independence” refers to being able to live without working. But for some, this still can mean dependence on financial independence, always living with the tension that one’s current stability might fall through, and fearing it, or otherwise letting that fear drive incessant action to control one’s financial stability, without having peace.

Indeed, the freedom to be where one desires isn’t necessarily freedom at all, since one can still feel dependent upon that desired circumstance remaining. And when one’s desire isn’t there, it can feel as though things aren’t right until it is. What people are talking about here is independence as freedom from circumstance. Yet, it’s still very much dependent upon the circumstance one wishes to escape to, and remain in.

So what is dependence? I posit the following definition:

A state of being that involves “looking to get to” a circumstance, such that one craves it, feels one needs it, feels things are wrong without it, or may fear its absence. It can involve impatience, fixation, imbalance, suffering, emotional pain, fear, panic, and anxiety. It can lead to escapism, negativity, and frustration.

And what about independence?

A state of being that involves openness to all circumstances, whatever the current circumstance happens to be. Involves flow, and a sense of detachment from circumstance and everything outside of one’s control, including direct control. Generally a positive, free, authentic, open state, devoid of shame and very fluid, not holding on to the things that come and go in reality.

Thus you can see the differences between the two. Yet, all too often, we can slip into feelings of dependence, however ideal independence might sound. Continue reading

The Destructiveness of Moral Righteousness

Yes, that is an impressive unibrow.

Moral Righteousness, examining his own fury

There is a part of you, who, when it sees a part of yourself it sees as a “demon”, it wants to utterly destroy that part of you. Right now I’m calling this guy “Moral Righteousness”, as he wants to decisively “purify” any “evil” he sees with his fiery powers. But unfortunately for him, I’m wise to his game. Yes, something in me might cause problems for me in life, might bring me down or keep me from some goal of mine. Fine. But if you try to come at things from a perspective of moral purity, then you never get to the root cause of what made a part of you “demonic” in the first place, and thus, never heal it. Now if a part of yourself is actively hurting another part, that’s different. Then you just need to stop the self-abuse. But to actively seek to destroy something inside of you? That’s extreme abuse.

And not only that, but it’s denying that the “demon” is a part of you in the first place! Maybe you’re uncomfortable relating to that twisted up part of yourself, or with even having the patience to work with it. But ultimately you’re not working with a “demon” or something outside of yourself. It’s a part of you, and for some reason, a reason that’s important to get to the root of, it’s behaving as it is.

Not only that, but the mindset of “Moral Righteousness” has been part of the reason for many of the genocides in the past century. The impulse to label a certain group of people as a problem, then seek to destroy them in the name of “purity” is something we’ve all seen before. It’s similar on an internal level, with that group of people being called things like “demons” or “evil”, and ruthlessly pursued so it can be purged out of you. And yet, as much as we try to deny it, they are us! We have something in common with everyone,  especially our “demons”.

So then, if we each learn about healing, if we understand what causes “demonic” behavior in the first place, and can work with those parts of ourselves, maybe we’ll see less genocide in the world as well. Sounds good to me!

And btw – what do I mean by “demon”? Well, one internal character I talked about a while back, The Deceiver, I could definitely call a demon. Perhaps anything in you that causes havoc or harm you could call a “demon”.

The Princess of Stories and the Giant

Just wrote this today for L.C. Ricardo’s fairy tale writing contest posted on her blog here. To write it, I just let the image spur an adventure to take place inside myself. This was spontaneous, but I feel like at least one character I’ve run across before (the self-accepting giant) was a part of this tale. It seems that this princess, if I have represented her accurately, can be extraordinarily powerful when distressed, as you will see. I feel like this method of inner work is the least accurate, but nevertheless I enjoyed the process, and I hope you enjoy the results. : )

— Story Prompt Picture — copyright Lissie Elle Laricchia

The Princess of Stories and the Giant

Once upon a time, a girl found herself standing in a confusing, foggy land. At first she searched for a way out, but eventually she got bored and frustrated, and sat down to take a nap, saying under her breath, “if only I could find a real story, if only I could find a REAL story…”

On waking, she found a ladder standing next to her, its top disappearing into the fog above. Looking to the left and right to make sure no one was looking at her being so mischievous, she began to ascend.

Halfway up the ladder got all oily, and it was hard to keep going. She began to think, “oh, but what if it’s no good up there either? Maybe it’s just a boring old place too.” But, given that she hadn’t been able to find anything below for so long, she decided to power through, and even though it took a great deal of strength, she passed the oily area and kept ascending into the clouds.

No sooner had she begun to think about how long the ladder was than her head popped through the clouds, and she could see the bright blue sky above her. She was curious, but still sad.

“Oh, is this all there is?” she said. “I know all about the blue sky. I’d rather be lost in fog than be here where I know what to expect.”

But since she had nothing better to do, she started to wander around the clouds. It wasn’t too long before her sad, wandering eyes, met with the sight of a giant stirring something in a large pot. It smelled bland.

“Excuse me,” said the girl. “What are you doing?”

“Hm?” said the giant. He had a deep voice and rather fuzzy eyebrows. “The question is, what are you doing?”

“Me? I’m trying to find a story. You see, when I find one, I’ll catch it in my net and take it home.”

“Oh? Let me see that net.”

The girl took out a small notebook from her pocket and handed it to the giant, who couldn’t flip it open with his giant fingers.

“Well I’ll leave you to it,” he said after trying several times to open the notebook and failing.

“Why, what are you doing?”

“Just making some soup.” said the giant.

Just then, the girl noticed that the giant’s pot was sitting on what looked like a large, red frog, who was getting redder by the second, and looked angry.

“Don’t overheat it now,” said the giant. He tapped the frog with a stick and all the hot air blew out of him, and he returned to a gray color.

“Who’s he?” said the girl.

“Nobody in particular,” said the giant, “But he helps me with my food. Whenever he gets angry and forgets to breathe he heats up. Quite convenient – except that sometimes I need to remind him to breathe.”

“Oh, I see,” said the girl, and she wandered around the giant’s outdoor kitchen quite confidently, eventually walking right up to the angry face of the frog, and poking its nose.

“So what makes YOU so angry?” she said. At this the frog puffed up with anger.

“Best not do that,” warned the giant.

“And says who? What gives you the right to get so angry? You silly frog.”

The frog rolled his eyes, breathed out, and returned to normal. A smile lit up the girl’s face.

“This is funny!” said the girl, jumping towards the frog.

“Easy does it,” said the giant. He put his hand between the two of them and nudged her back.

“Hey! Stop that will you?”

“Bugger heats my soup, don’t need you disturbin’ him none.”

“Well… fine.” said the girl, mirroring the frown in the frog’s face.

She began to pace around the giant’s home-with-no-walls, kicking wisps of cloud as she went. She went and sat on the bed and brooded.

Just then, the sky began to darken. Dark clouds moved in far above them (a fact the girl found surprising), and thunder could be heard in the distance. The girl got concerned and complained to the giant, but he sat calmly eating his soup as he answered her.

“Things happen from time to time, but I am here, and capable enough, perhaps. We will see.”

This did not comfort the little girl at all, and she kept wandering around clutching and the table’s legs, which were as wide as trees.

Soon after, a man riding a black horse drew near. The girl hid behind the giant in fright, for the horse and its rider were just as big as the giant, and the rider wore a helmet of twisted metal, which frightened her even more.

“It’s time.” said the man on the black horse.

“Time for what?” said the giant calmly.

“Do not take me for a fool. It is time.”

“Do explain yourself,” said the giant, “For I am the fool here, if there is to be one.”

“Leave your smart words for someone who will show you mercy,” said the man. He grabbed the giant’s shirt threateningly.

Just then the girl gained some courage, since she was with the giant, and shouted out, “Just leave us alone you lousy git!”

Her blood ran cold, however, when the horseman turned to look at her, face hidden beneath the metal helmet. He reached out a gauntlet-covered hand towards her, but the giant blocked it.

“She is of no concern to you,” said the giant, “Now leave us be.”

“Ah so you have a friend now, and do not wish to be left alone anymore…” the man then took off his helmet, and the girl could see his wild eyes and hair that thrashed about in the wind. “What hypocrisy! What double-talk! You fool! Don’t you see now that-”

But whatever else the man was going to say was lost when the giant took the opportunity to slam his fist into the man’s exposed head. The man went flying, but was able to stand after a short time.

“I promise you I will return, and take your head with me. An attack on me will not go unnoticed, you insolent fool. Your strength will not protect you forever.”

Just then the frog blew out a jet of flames, scaring the man away.

“I didn’t know he could do that,” said the girl.

“He is useful for many things,” said the giant, and sat back down to dinner. The girl still felt nervous.

“What are you going to do about that man?”

“Things will work themselves out, one way or another.”

The girl was not so sure, and went to sleep uneasy.

When she awoke, the giant was already up, putting logs away in his kitchen. Where he got the wood from she could never guess, but didn’t ask the giant about that, because she what she saw was that the entire cloud area around the giant’s cabin-without-walls had fallen away. She crawled to the edge and could see the green earth far beneath them. With a squeak she ran away from it.

“What’s going on?” she said to the giant.

“I don’t know,” said the giant, calm as ever. The frog had to keep breathing rapidly though, because he kept getting angry fast.

“But… how will I get down?”

“Well, how did you get up?”

“The ladder… but, but, I can’t go down now! You’re in trouble here, and, well, what good could I do down there.” She began to get very nervous.

“I don’t know, but what do you think you can do up here, either? Get a story?”

“Oh I don’t care about a silly old story now,” said the girl, “I want to know who did this.”

Just then she noticed, out of the corner of her eye, a dignified looking man approaching. As he did, a small bridge of clouds formed. He was normal human-sized, and looked quite small to the girl.

The man, who had a well-greased, tiny mustache, pulled open a large piece of parchment.

“By degree of the king of the castle in the clouds, you are hereby requested (that means ordered, said the man) to return the girl to the human kingdom below, and appear in court in one hour’s time for trial.”

“What is my offense?” said the giant calmly.

“You will find out when you get there,” said the man, who looked severely annoyed.

“What’s the matter with you?” said the girl, “He hasn’t done anything! And what do you mean return me to the human kingdom? I go wherever I want to go, thank you very much!”

The man answered her with a sneer. “What would you know of it? You’ve only been here the past day – from what we know – and no, it doesn’t involve bothersome little girls like you.”

“I will go,” said the giant. “Just make sure you do not involve her in any of this.”

“Fine, as if I have any authority to do that.” said the man. “Good day.”

“I don’t like him,” said the girl. The giant just shrugged his shoulders, and began to pack his things into a bag, including the frog.

“I’m going with you!” said the girl.

“I don’t think that’s wise, but follow along if you wish.”

They started off along the clouds, the girl grumbling to herself all the while. She didn’t like the situation at all, nor how the giant just went along with it. He could have easily just thrown that messenger off the clouds.

Before long, they reached the castle in the clouds, which was a tall white castle that nevertheless had a swirling black cloud around it. The girl didn’t like the look of it at all. As they walked through the city, the residents all looked at the pair with suspicion, and even resentment. But why would they care? Was the giant really all that bad?

She and the giant reached the entrance to the castle, and were asked to wait while the heavy marble doors were opened by twelve tiny men. Stepping inside, they caught sight of the larger people living inside. One of them, standing next to the throne, began jumping up and down, pointing at the pair who had just entered.

“That’s them! That’s them! Damn them!” It was the man from before, and, the girl noted, he looked excited.

The king remained unmoved, looking at them as dispassionately as if they were rocks, a look of intense dissatisfaction on his face. He was dressed all in metal, with a red and black velvet cape that stood in contrast to his white throne. He finally stopped leaning on his fist in order to pick his nose.

“You there,” he said, flicking his booger then pointing to the men standing behind the giant and the girl, “close the doors.” He turned his attention to the giant.

“As you may have gathered, you have been summoned here today to answer for your heinous crimes. I call them heinous because that’s what they are.”

“Would you mind telling me what they are?” said the giant.

“You tell him.” said the king to the messenger from before.

“Oh – yes, of course,” he said as he unrolled another large scroll. The king had returned to picking his nose.

“Ahem, yes, your crimes. They are as follows: being far too peaceful. Ah, I mean, refusing to lend us your strength in battle.”

“And my punishment?” said the giant.

“Now wait a minute!” said the girl, “THAT’S no crime! He’s just staying out of your business, what’s wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong with that, little girl,” said the king, leaning forward, “Is that with him the enemy could outnumber us three to one and we’d still have a good chance of winning.”

“I don’t care! Fight your own damn battles!”

“And my punishment?”

The king got a maniacal look in his eye. “At noon today your head is to be struck off and posted in the town square to serve as motivation for the people. At last you will have served your duty to your country.”

The giant was silent, the girl dumbstruck.

“What..? You, you can’t be serious.”

The prince now sauntered forward.

“Oh yes, we are quite serious little girl, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”

She stared wide-eyed, in shock.

Just then the frog burst from the bag. He started shooting flames all around the room. The response was quick. The prince picked up his black mace and sent the frog flying. Then the king drew his sword and began to approach. Then the giant pushed the king back.

“No, I am the only one to die.” The girl noticed he was talking to the frog. The frog looked sad, and slunk off into the corner.

“Yes, good froggy, obey your wise master,” said the prince with smirk.

“Oh I wish I could just…” said the girl.

“What, punch my lights out?” said the prince, grabbing her arm. How cute, what, did your mommy teach you how to fight?”

“The girl is to be left out of this, too.”

“Fine,” snapped the king. “But that is also an offense. I think… I’ll put out your eye along with your head just for failing to return her.”

Suddenly, the girl realized something. Her heart started racing. The prince raised his eyebrow at her.
“Hmm? Is something wrong with you?” said the prince, snarling.

“Whattimeisit?” she sputtered out.

“Ten thirty,” said the king. “Little more than an hour to live, giant.”

The girl had seen the giant’s strength, and knew that if he would he would take out those who were trying to kill him. But having watched him submit, she knew that he stood no chance against these cruel men. She knew what she had to do. Straightaway, she marched towards the door. The frog hopped after her.

“Oi, where are you going, little girl?” said the prince.

“For a walk.” said the girl. The frog was glowing red hot next to her. Not daring to look back at the giant, she fled from the castle, running as fast as she could, past the curious crowds, and outside. The frog kept jumping ahead of her and sitting down.

“Stop it, you stupid frog!” she shouted. Again and again he did it and soon she was doubled over, tired from running.

The frog sat right in front of her again, and then she realized it was trying to get her to ride it. As soon as she climbed on, the frog turned in the direction of the castle, and a jet of flames shot out. She barely hung on as the frog rocketed backwards, and back towards the giant’s home.

No sooner had she got there than she launched herself down the ladder, and, on reaching the earth (the frog just jumped down), ran to the nearby town. The villagers all looked delighted to see her.

“Hey, welcome back! Where have you been? Tell us about it!”

“My friend!” she shouted, tears streaming, “My friend is in danger!”

As fast as she could, she rushed into the castle, where her father, the king, was holding court.

“My friend!” she screamed.

“Calm down, my child,” said the king, rushing to her side, “What’s wrong?”

She calmed down as tears continued to roll down her cheeks.

“I’ve seen something horrible,” she said. “In a city in the clouds the king there is going to kill a kind old giant who protected me and gave me shelter. He’s done nothing wrong, either.”

The king, silent, looked to his warriors, who were leaning against the wall, listening.

“Tell us where to go.” said one.

The princess took a moment, looking between the king and the warriors, then, turned and rushed out the door, only to find it blocked by the frog.

“What’s that?” said the king.

The princess jumped on and, looking over her shoulder, shouted, “Follow me! And clear a path!” Then the frog blew a jet of fire, and the next instant was in the town square.

“Fetch your horses,” said the king. “I think that speed is required here.”

Soon, the princess and all the king’s warriors, who numbered a thousand strong, were ascending the ladder. The frog met them at the top, bursting through the hole in the clouds with a single hop. The girl looked desperately up at the sun and saw it was almost at its peak. She, not thinking to wait, hopped on the frog and blasted towards the castle far ahead of the fighters.

The frog and the princess arrived at the castle gate. It was before noon. Instead of waiting for the twelve tiny men to open the door, she let the frog burst it open. She staggered in.

“Where is he??” she screamed. The king, who was eating lunch, sneered at her.

“I couldn’t be bothered to have my lunch interrupted with an execution, so I went ahead and had it done early. See there? His head is on a pole, as promised.”

The princess stared in horror at the sight. The sad eye of the giant looked back at her.

She couldn’t bear it any longer. The princess balled up her dress and screamed. The king looked up, horrified.

It wasn’t an ordinary scream. The pitch was higher, more intense than that. The air itself began to shake.

Then, the windows burst. A red glow could be seen out the window. The girl walked outside, screaming, tears falling from her eyes, as fire fell from the sky. It hit the white castle with such force that it cracked in two, then, waves upon waves of fire hitting it, crumbled to the ground.

The cruel king and all his court were buried with it, but the giant’s head stood on a pole above the debris. The townspeople and the warriors who had just arrived all stood dumbfounded.

Just then, the girl spotted a small gold ring on the ground. She calmed down for a moment, picked it up, put it on, and began to hear a voice. She turned around and saw the giant’s head talking. The ash in the air and everything else, however, was frozen in time.

“What’s going on here?” said the giant. “You did all this?”

“I don’t know…” said the girl. “I didn’t mean to. I’m scared. Are you… still alive?”

“As alive as I’ll ever be. If you can bear it, take my head to my body.”

The girl, weak as she was, couldn’t lift the pole out of the ground. So she took the ring off and called some of the warriors to her. Leaving the giant, she went over to the large mound of debris where the giant’s body was, and dug it out as if in a daze. The warriors helped her, but said nothing. Soon they sat the body up and removed the pole from the giant’s head as the princess requested. They placed the head on the body and nothing happened, so she put on the ring again.

“Isn’t this what I needed to do?” she asked.

“It’s kind of difficult to reattach so quickly, you know?” said the giant. “But I think now I can do it.” And just like that the head was reattached to the body.

“But everything else is stopped…”

“It’s ok now,” the giant assured her.

So she took it off. No sooner had she done so than the giant’s body lifted up in the air, limp, then touched slowly down to earth again. He started breathing slowly. The frog, who had been standing nearby, jumped towards his master with a hopeful look in his eyes.

“Well, I guess I’ll have to make due with one eye from now on. Don’t suppose I could find it.

The girl was so excited, with a huge smile on her face, that she barely noticed when an eyeball shot out of the rubble and into the giant’s eye socket.

“What – of all the – that…” he looked around, surveying all who were looking at him. “Who are you?” he said to the warriors.

“I profess I have never seen anything like this in all my days,” said the lead warrior. “We were called here by the princess to stop your execution.”

“Yes, I thought you might.” he looked over at the girl, who was still staring at him, now with a look of disbelief. “Thank you.” he said with a smile.

“I’m so sorry!” she cried out, hugging his foot. “I’m sorry I wasn’t fast enough!”

“That’s no matter,” he said gently. The princess smiled.

The giant, along with his frog, returned to his cabin-without-walls, even though the princess tried to convince him to move to her city – for the giant was content to live at his home. However, from that day forward, the giant was welcomed in the princess’ town, and he was often consulted by the king. The princess, too, visited the giant whenever she could, climbing the ladder, probably to this day, to visit the giant where he resided. And the two of them kept the secret of the princess’s voice, and the power of the golden ring, hidden from the rest of the world.



The Judgmental Self

Both judged and judging

It seems that the part of yourself who judges others does so because they themselves have been judged, and gather resentment towards those who would do such a thing. Where this all starts is the next mystery to be solved.

In terms of interacting with a judgmental person or part of yourself, it seems that they only let down their barriers when you are willing to admit your mistakes and really be humble in front of them. Rather than get pissed at the judgments they throw at you. If you do, a larger and larger fight will brew, and explode, instead. Heck, maybe SOME of the things they say ARE true. To avoid becoming judgmental you must develop, I feel like, the ability to TAKE IT. To take the judgment or criticism, however harsh or mean-spirited. Even if it is designed with the specific intent to crush your spirit.

The Inner Deceiver’s Return

It seems I lied – I didn’t stop my self-deceiver. He came back, and wanted to stop me from moving forward. Started throwing a fit about the fact that he didn’t want his plans to fail, and that those who failed to enact his plans for him should suffer as a result. Perhaps this is the reason behind a fear of failure…

The main thing that stopped him was surprisingly the fact that he didn’t want to be used as a tool, and yet he was using others as a tool (like the hands, brain, body, etc.) to achieve whatever end he decided on. That was his MO. But when I pointed out to him that others, because he was so effective, probably saw him as a tool, he stood down. It was true, after all, he was prone to being used as a tool because he didn’t care if there were any bonds of friendship – he just wanted to get the job done. And in the end this made me a more fit master for myself than him, not because I was more effective, but because I was, in this instance, treating those not in an authority position in my consciousness as I would want to be treated. A.k.a. “Be kind to yourself”. Maybe this is why the Golden Rule has been considered so important? I don’t know.

Furthermore, when this smart but unwise fellow inside me WAS treated kindly, it seems that, because he only pretended to be nice, that kindness never got to him. Everything was still a game to him, and if he dropped his cover, why of course no one would treat him kindly. But you see he wanted to be treated with respect for who he really was, his true talents and wishes, no matter how demonic he seemed. It was more touching a realization than I thought it could be.

Stepping out of the inner world for a moment, I think what this means for life is that not only is it important to consider how you would want to be treated, but that in order to know if someone feels kindness towards you, in order to open the possibility of true friendship, you need to be honest about yourself and your motives and insecurities. And while you’re at it, accept that sometimes your plans fail. Don’t yell at the world for it, or your body, or mind, or whatever – don’t be harsh with it for not giving you what you want. It was as it is, body, mind, or world. And as far as your self goes, at least it cooperated to some extent. And if it didn’t, maybe you had unrealistic expectations in the first place. Like, what if you wanted your body to fly without the aid of any mechanical means. No matter how bad you wanted it, it’s just not equipped to handle that request. So be fair with yourself – you may not know yourself well enough to know beforehand how everything will work out. Just handle the responses you get from your body as you would a friend. “Ok, you can’t fly. Boring, but fine. I’ll think up something else – any ideas?” Something like that. Just think about your stomach – if you refused to eat you soon wouldn’t be in a position to refuse anything anymore, you’d be dead. And you certainly know when the stomach is speaking to you. So everything works together, and you, the authority, are, in my opinion, most effective when you’re a friend to all within. You might find yourself being friendly towards all outside yourself as well. : )

Anger towards Anger

Long story short for those who don’t want to read: Driving yourself towards dreams with desperation instead of love will create a controlling hypocrite in you. (Or something like that)

Last night I discovered that there was a part of me that got mad at myself for getting angry. Total hypocrite. After delving further, I found out that this part of me was trying to experiment on me, and make sure I would become a person without anger. This was all because it fit into his grandiose life plans – he wanted to become a legendary individual, far greater than anybody else, renowned far and wide for his deeds.

On asking why this was so important, it was mostly because he hated and feared the idea of living a “common” life, and started to get upset at the thought. But then, I challenged him, telling him that was B.S. because he was already great, and he did not have to stand out in the ways he described. He at first thought I was just saying it to make him feel better.

But after a bit more back and forth, I found out that the key difficulty with all of his grand dreams was that he was seeking that dream with desperation instead of with love. At this, he finally agreed with me, and we made peace.