art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Bottling Things Up

One of the things that happens when an interpersonal conflict begins to brew is a need to decide whether or not to raise the issue, concern, etc. with the other person. And how and when to do so, if that is the choice we make. This conundrum is often complicated for those who have a tendency to ‘bottle things up’ which essentially translates into containing thoughts and feelings and a hesitancy to share what is happening.

Let’s take the imagery of bottling things up a little further by picturing the bottle. To start with – depending on the situation and the person – we may view what’s in the bottle as inconsequential. This may mean we see some stuff in it, but not much to fuss about. As thoughts and feelings begin to grow – due to repeated and noxious interactions with the other person – picture the bottle becoming fuller of stuff that is murky and not very appetizing. When this occurs, it becomes more evident to us, and likely the other person, that we are bottling things up. For instance, we may look and feel as though we are on the brink of overflowing.

This week’s blog asks readers to consider a situation in which this metaphor applies to you when answering these ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions):

  • If you are inclined to bottle things up, how do you describe that tendency?
  • What specific emotions are you are bottling up about a situation you have in mind?
  • What percentage of the bottle is consumed with these negative feelings?
  • What thoughts are you bottling up?
  • What percentage of the bottle is consumed with your negative thoughts?
  • What may cause the feelings and thoughts in the bottle to overflow?
  • What could you say or do to reduce your negative emotions about the situation or other person that would be helpful? What could you say or do to reduce your negative thoughts?
  • What would you pour out first if you were to intentionally tip the bottle?
  • When you ultimately empty the bottle, what will that be and feel like?
  • When you begin to bottle things up at a future time, what may you do differently if you don’t want to do so?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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