How to Resolve Conflict
Studies show that the average person experiences five conflicts a day
How do you handle conflict? Conflict occurs when different individuals hold incompatible opinions, principles or interests. The holiday season is a perfect time to practice your ability to approach conflict with a positive mindset.
What is your go-to reaction when you are in conflict? Do you run and hide (avoid the conflict)? Do you jump in the "ring" determined to win? Do you abandon your ship, letting go of your own ideas, beliefs and values in order to keep the peace no matter what.
Studies show that the average person experiences five conflicts a day. This is an examination of consciousness that can offer some opportunities for an interior tune up when it comes to personal excellence. Do your conflicts share a common emotional theme: I'm overlooked; I’m not enough; I’m under-appreciated; or I’m misunderstood?
As is the case with any positive outcome in life, reflection and preparation are two practices that increase your odds at achieving your goals. Explore the following practices to better respond to conflict in your day-to-day life.
Ask questions to get as much information as possible about the situation before choosing your response. Ask "what" questions versus "why" questions. Ask as many questions as possible to gain the information required to see the situation from the other person's perspective.
Release the inner urge to attach your sense of worth, value or success to the conflict at hand. This only creates a mess of emotions, which too often distorts the reality of a situation.
Go to the main players involved in the conflict as soon as possible instead of stewing and gossiping about the situation. Often, our own fears and anxieties block our ability to see things as they really are. Therefore, we show up with the ugliest version of ourselves rather than the best.
Address the body's reaction to conflict, because conflict is expressed in the body. If you are in control of your body, you can choose your response. When threatened, your body responds (in a fraction of a second) with a stress response that renders the mind incapable of turning to solution-based thinking. In that split second, blood flow to the frontal cortex is restricted in order to send the blood flow to the back part of the brain and out to your limbs, triggering the fight, flight, freeze response.
Take back your mind amid conflict. Learn EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
Breathe: take one finger and gently press it against one nostril and breathe in deeply through the open nostril. Switch to the other nostril and gently press it closed and exhale. Continue alternating closing one nostril and inhale, switch and close the other nostril and exhale. This practice slows down the body’s stress response.
Play nice. Avoid the urge to bully because you are afraid you will not get what you want or that something will be taken from you.
Let go of your need to control other people's opinions, values and beliefs without abandoning your own values, opinions and beliefs. Attempt to create a shared understanding with the parties involved, even if that means agreeing to disagree.
Go for creating a shared vision that honors all involved. Let go of your need to be right, liked and understood and take all of that energy to establish a shared vision and understanding with the parties in conflict.
Use the word "shared" over compromise. Why? Because it lends itself to keeping both participants in tact with their unique perspectives while creating another space for connection, built on collaborative shared ideas, solutions and the willingness to allow share different viewpoints and create new understandings.