Dealing with Conflict
Are you experiencing that people seem to be sadder, angrier, and generally less happy? Do you yourself feel this same way more times than not? According to many surveys, and one global survey by Forbes published in July 2021, “In 2020, the world was a sadder, angrier, more worried and more stressed-out place than it has been at any time in the past 15 years.” Other surveys indicate a similar growing trend.
As we experience our own and others sadness and anger, we may wonder how we handle these conflicts when they arise and feel good about how we resolved them. Something that can help us in these situations is to take a stance of a willingness to understand. This understanding necessitates our ability to continually listen and ask questions rather than having the answers. This can allow for differences to begin to fade and similarities begin to emerge. The willingness to understand naturally acknowledges and appreciates the other person. It can also move us from an issue to a vision of expectation and hope. It can also create movement from stalemate to resolution. Understanding does not necessarily mean that you agree with the other individual but that you are attempting to understand them and their beliefs. This understanding can lead to the opening of a door that helps define common ground.
The process that brings us to this level of understanding begins with identifying the disagreement as a mutual problem. Next, each individual will want to identify the negative result of not resolving the conflict. Perceptions of the issue can then be articulated by each side. If possible, make a list of points that each side agrees on such as common goals and each other’s needs. Finally, negotiate mutually beneficial solutions and establish an action plan to eliminate present conflict and prevent future ones.
In our conflict resolution workshops we suggest that individuals begin using this process in a safe environment and when each individual is not at the point of “boiling over.” Since this process may be much different than many have experienced in their life, it will take time and energy to begin to be comfortable with it and its’ results.
Here are bullet points of what we call “Behavioral Adjustment Techniques.”
Do your homework.
Find points of agreement.
Begin positively and express support.
Express, listen and watch for feelings.
Be conscious of visual and vocal messages.
Focus on behavior, not personality.
Stay flexible in style.
Summarize to assess understanding.
Consider the needs of the other person.
It’s not whether you have conflict in your life, it is how you choose to deal with it. Conflict can be seen as a gift of energy to bring about a healthy resolution to an unhealthy situation.
Conflict Resolution is about choices.
Some individuals may have a hearing loss, however, that does not limit listening.
Resolving conflict is about acknowledging and appreciating differences
Recognize your pressure cues.
Practice listening regularly.
Trust your gut if you are sensing a conflict.
Things to Limit
Jumping to conclusions.
Thinking that you always know the answer.
Believing that you can read other peoples’ minds
Quote of the Week
“Conflict in and of itself is not a negative experience…It is how we choose to respond to conflict that determines whether its’ effect will be positive or negative…Instead of believing that we know all the answers, we embrace curiosity” ~The Tao of Negotiation
In summary, anger and sadness are emotions that can cost our minds and bodies the energy and motivation that we need to accomplish our goals and achieve life satisfaction. By learning and using healthy conflict resolution skills, we can take the opportunity to bring light to the darkness
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The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.
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