work conflictRecently I was listening to a friend telling me that she was dealing with issues in her relationship with her boss that she believed originated in past lives they shared.  She was particularly annoyed because he wasn’t open to talking about her spiritual beliefs with her.

Imagine trying to get your boss to discuss a relationship that you believe goes across the millennia.

I can hear the conversation now.

Fred – my psychic says we were married in a past life and that is where our relationship problems originate. She told me you were always at the saloon playing poker with the boys when you should have been home helping me with the 35 children. Just like how today you never support me when I ask for more resources to get my project done. You just expect me to do it all while you take all the credit!

Ah, yes – the good old days!!!

We do meet up with past life soulmates (and I am not speaking of romantic relationships) in the workplace. We incarnate and reincarnate in soul groups, each of us playing a part for the soul growth of self and others.

But, even if relationship problems from a past life carry over, delving into past lives might not be the most helpful approach.

Dealing With Past Soulmates In The Present

Whatever is going on has to be resolved in the present because all power is always in the present moment. 

The subject of past lives is an interesting one. And certainly, if you do believe in past lives, then inherited talents and gifts may flow down from one life to the next as well as fears and traumas.  I do believe we are eternal souls continuing to evolve and learn through our human experiences.

However, trying to figure out a present work relationship problem in the context of a past life puts you automatically on a quest for the ‘why.’ And, the ‘why‘ is not always the most important part.

And that is true even if you aren’t thinking past lives or soulmates.

Why The “Why” Strategy Doesn’t Work

‘Why’ takes you into analysis-mode. You may believe that if you can just understand why another person says or does something that you can enlighten him and heal the situation. However using your analytical mind only leaves out the power of your emotional intelligence and distances you from your own feelings and your experience.

Instead of addressing the effect of something that bothered you, the focus moves to the other person and the endless search for an answer to ‘why.’

And the trap when analysis is the first response to an emotional upset is that you weaken your ability to be empathetic and compassionate to the failings of others.  The analyst takes a superior position and that immediately places the other in an inferior position.  And from that distance, forgiveness, healing and resolution are hard to find.

Think about what goes through your head when someone steps on your idea at work.  You most likely feel anger and maybe fear (fear hides under anger very often).  What do you do next?  Do you take a deep breath, realize you are feeling a strong emotion and breathe your way into a calm state?  Or do you decide to rant and rave in your own mind about the ‘arrogant idiot’ who doesn’t know how to listen and what kind of a person he or she must be?

This approach keeps you steaming and irritated perhaps well into your day.  The better option is the one where you bring your emotional intelligence to bear. This allows you to recognize, honor, process and release your own emotional responses so you can continue on your day with calm.

You are asking the wrong ‘why.’

The ‘why’ to ask is the ‘why am I feeling this emotion?’

‘Why does this feel so personal?’

‘Why does this bother me so much?

These types of questions keep the focus on you and your experience.  If, instead, you are asking ‘why did that person do that?’ then you are off analyzing rather than experiencing.

Learning to live in your experience takes practice in our mentally-focused world.  But the ability to live in your experience is one of the key elements to staying focused at work and in your own power as a co-creative being.

When you are you off in your head telling yourself a story about another person, you are not staying in your experience so you can understand your own feelings and responses and make choices about your life.

Choosing To Open Up Discussion

heart workYour place of power is in your ability to decide how you choose to be regardless of how others behave. 

The next time you have a relationship hiccup at work here’s something really simple you can say:

“When you did (or said) such-and-such, I felt hurt (upset, angry, not valued, misunderstood , confused, etc.) because . . . . . .

Could we talk about this?”

This simple sentence opens up the possibility of discussion, finding out what the other person was actually thinking and allows for resolution.  We are all, at times, thoughtless, self-involved, preoccupied, unaware and highly capable of inserting both feet solidly in mouth.

Remembering each other’s humanity with all its accompanying frailties and trying not to take everything so personally allows for a more easy-going and accepting relationship whether with a work colleague, a good friend, your children or your spouse.

Sometimes when we experience a chronically difficult pattern in a work relationship, the inability to get things on a better footing can lead to looking for causes that cross lifetimes. However, even if you can identify a past life issue, you still need to address the problem in your present life to break the pattern.

Patterns are only broken when you offer a new response to the same old situation.

So learn what your normal responses are to conflict and realize things get better when you work to develop healthy boundaries and are able to communicate effectively with another. Think about how you resolve relationship problems when they arise at work.  Try practicing the simple sentence and see what you learn.

And if you must take your relationship into the distant past, may you visit a time when life moved more slowly and conversation was an art.

About Cathleen O'Connor

Cathleen O’Connor PhD is a metaphysical teacher, best-selling author, speaker and intuitive coach who loves helping people harness the power of the mind and heart to co-create miracles in all areas of life. She has been quoted in the Huffington Post as a dream interpretation expert and featured as a work-life balance expert in various publications. Connect with Cathleen at and grab your free e-book: The Secret to Saying ‘No.’

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