The Zone - Volume 118
What can I do to handle the conflicts that are in my life?
Conflicts are like the stressors in our life, we need them to grow, to be motivated and to be challenged. They are a normal part of living and, without them, life would be boring, stale and not very fulfilling. On the other hand, when our stressors are out of balance with our coping strategies or our conflicts seem to be occupying most of our time and energy, it is time to stop, step back and learn new ways to handle the situations.
Conflict has been defined as the struggle that results from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes or demands. A key point to keep in mind is that there is a dramatic difference between disagreements and conflicts. Disagreements may merely be a difference of opinion. I may believe that the Yankees are the best New York baseball team and you may believe that the Mets are. We may each have baseball statistics to reinforce our case and we may never agree. However, this is a difference of opinion, a disagreement and not a conflict. It can become a conflict if I restrict your discussion or your ability to display your Mets memorabilia. It becomes a conflict when I believe that my rights have been denied. Most all conflicts begin with disagreements that did not get resolved and is the symptom of a problem and the problem needs to be solved.
Some of the causes of conflict include:
Different goals and/or objectives.
Overlapping responsibilities or boundaries.
Lack of trust.
Competition of limited resources.
Gender bias issues.
Ethnic and cultural differences.
Add your own causes of conflict…
In working toward a resolution of a conflict it is important to think your strategy through. There are usually three dimensions to a conflict. They are: the actual issue, the personal level and the interpersonal level. Reflecting on how important the issue is and how it impacts you and thinking about the other individual’s needs, wants and desires can move you forward in thinking about your desire to resolve the issue.
In our Conflict Management workshops we offer several strategies and thought processes to consider. It is important to adapt and practice techniques that match your specific needs and personality.
Following are two processes that you may want to consider.
A Zen based approach
Conflict is natural; neither positive nor negative, it just is.
Conflict is just an interference.
Nature uses conflict as its primary motivator for change.
It’s not whether you have conflict in your life. It’s what you do with the conflict.
Winning and losing are goals for games, not conflicts.
Conflict can be seen as a gift of energy.
Resolving conflict is about acknowledgement and appreciation of differences.
Conflict begins within.
A traditional conflict resolution process
Do your homework.
Find points of agreement.
Begin positively and express support.
Maintain / enhance self-esteem.
Express, listen and watch for feelings.
Be conscious of visual and vocal message.
Focus on behavior, not personality.
Stay flexible in style.
Summarize to test understanding.
Consider the needs of the other person.
Resolve disagreements before they become conflicts.
One’s attitude during the conflict resolution process is key to resolution.
There are many successful processes and procedures to resolve conflicts.
Identify the issue as a mutual disagreement.
Identify components of the issue that you both agree on.
Keep your cool.
Things to Limit
Believing that there is only one solution, your solution.
Quote of the Week
“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude”
Taking the time to resolve conflicts, no matter how painful, is using your time wisely because unresolved conflicts take an amazing toll on your body, mind and soul.
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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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