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Test or Con-test?

At the root of it all, aren't all life’s battlefields relational in nature? Isn’t it all a test to see if we will grow in intimacy with one another and pass the test by coming together to attack the problem and not each other?

The sad truth however is that we are all too often conned into it becoming a con-test between us rather than a test for us to win together. We are conned into individualism and go on the defensive rather than working hard at common-union (communion) with each other and staying on the offensive against the common-problem.

So how do we become conned? How does the con get added to the test! How are we triggered and trapped into removing the preservation of our relationships from the No1 position they should hold? The simple and hard to hear answer is through a multitude of our inner and often unspoken and unhealed insecurities.

I’m insecure about my value:

If I don’t feel I am very valuable, have low self worth, carry shame, have betrayed or been betrayed, carry unfulfilled dreams, compare myself to others, have regrets and have repeatedly failed, then being conned is so so easy. Such a strong temptation to feed my need for affirmation, success and retribution. I’ll potentially forfeit my love of others - stamping on them to raise myself higher.

I’m insecure about my provision:

If I’ve lived a life of perceived scarcity or a life of entitled plenty then I can become like a dog fighting for scraps or a fat king demanding more. This is a playground for the con to flourish. If I don’t look after myself who will? Grab what I can whilst I can before it’s too late.

It all sounds horrible doesn’t it? But if I’m honest, if you are honest, then isn’t it a daily battle to see things the way they really are and a huge battle to fight for each other, to prefer each other to ourselves in order to remain in intimate, loving and powerful connection? There’s an old proverb about a three stranded cord, intimately wound together, and through that intimacy it is so much stronger than the individual parts.

You see the success of a con-man depends on his ability to deceive and to carry out his goals in an unseen manner. To break intimacy through the triggering of our hidden insecurities and to reduce us to a weak and isolated single cord.

That’s why perspective is so important. Higher ground provides a wider viewpoint where the con is exposed. Where we see each other’s beauty and struggles more clearly. Where we have compassion for one another. Where we put the other person first. Where we recognise, and vulnerably expose, our false facades and hidden insecurities.

A final word on intimacy. Intimacy cannot exist where this is a power imbalance in the relationship. We have to learn not to exploit power when we hold it or back down to escape confrontation when we feel weak. Power imbalance is a soil of mistrust, exploitation, contempt and abuse - where we see ourselves in a contest with another human being and where peace and joy cannot grow. For relational intimacy to occur, we must first acknowledge and rectify any power imbalance that has been allowed to exist. Or in other words, I must fully trust you and you must fully trust me.

Is it time to take a higher perspective? To disarm the con through striving for vulnerable, honest, power-balanced, trusting, compassionate and intimate connection with others at all cost? This is where the test is won. This is where peace and joy exist. This is where we see the best, not the worst, of the human heart and where together we win our battles.

I need to stay mindful of the con-test. RW

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