Every relationship has conflict from time to time. That is not a problem. There can be a problem, however, if you and the other person do not know how to "fight fair" or if there is not enough goodwill to use fair fighting skills in order to make the conflict constructive. These conflict resolution tips will help you with that.
Conflict can be very positive. From healthy conflict can come creative solutions to new or long standing problems; you can also have increased self esteem as a result of being able to stay in a conflict situation without either running away, withdrawing, withholding, hiding or attacking. The more confident you become in your ability to successfully deal with conflict (win-win rather than win-lose), the better you feel about yourself and that relationship.
Many of us have been taught or have otherwise learned to avoid conflict at almost any cost. When we do that, we often let things go beyond what will work for us in our lives. The result is we can get to a point where we explode. Many of us have such a low tolerance for conflict and disharmony that we tend to defer and give away our own personal power, our own sense of ourselves. We can go so far as to even lose track of how we actually feel, what we really need or want and even who we are. We do this in order to maintain an illusion of harmony. Many people are afraid to set appropriate limits or ask for what they need or want because they fear someone might get upset with them, might not like them anymore or might leave them and choose to be with someone else. So they do without until they cannot take it anymore. An excellent criteria for successful conflict is the willingness to be in conflict. You will find that if you set appropriate limits in personal and work situations and ask for what you need or want early enough, you can do it with goodwill, clearly and lovingly, without giving yourself away. You will also be more likely to get what you want.
Here are a few conflict resolution tips:
- No hurting - physically or emotionally (name calling, intimidation, etc.).
- Stay present - do not keep bringing up the past.
- Be specific - do not generalize or exaggerate.
- Be positive - talk about what you want or would prefer rather than what you do not want.
- Pick a good time - when both of you are ready to talk non reactively.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Listen not to defend yourself or your position but first to understand theirs.
- Speak from an open heart rather than your ego.
- If intense feelings come up, describe the feelings instead of trying to justify them or reacting from them. (Remember, you are not capable of an unacceptable feeling - only unacceptable behaviors.)
- Give strokes of appreciation (be specific) when you get what you want rather than complaining or criticizing when you do not.
- Nothing is in concrete. Always be willing to discuss or renegotiate if a solution does not continue to work for either one of you.
Winning is only winning when both parties can feel good about themselves and the other.
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by Frank Robinson
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