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Icropped-icon_004t can be difficult to figure out a healthy and peaceful resolution to conflicts.  We will continue using workplace conflicts, such as those mentioned in the previous section, where relationships have the propensity to be both tense and formal.  The skills you will gain by practicing managing workplace conflicts can then make their way into more personal relationships, as well as interactions with strangers. If you keep in mind the principles of assertive communication, you’ll remember that it is important that you do not sacrifice your core values or compromise too much of your sense of self in negotiating a conflict.  In more personal and intimate relationships it is important to bring more awareness to your fears and rigid thinking.  It is important to recognize these fears and thinking patterns and challenge them.  It is also important to recognize that these fears can at times make us feel extra sensitive, become extra defensive, and may negatively influence how you view the facts of a situation.  It is easy to think that giving in to another person’s demands would “resolve” a conflict.  This unfortunately only works as a loose band aid, often leaving your anger to fester like an irritated wound.  A true resolution means attempting to satisfy everyone’s unmet needs.  Consider the following: Nadine attends church every Sunday.  Her daughter, Harriet, wants Nadine to take her to a traveling show Sunday.  Nadine sees church as a way of reconnecting with herself, taking time for introspection, and to defuse any mounting stress.  Harriet begs for her mother to take her to the show, wanting to go to the earliest show possible.  Nadine bristles at first, thinking Harriet is being inconsiderate.  She would happily agree to any other day of the week.  Nadine acknowledges Harriet’s desire to go, that Harriet may be needing a sense of connection with others in the community, and that Harriet may need a sense of connection with Nadine.  Nadine suggests they go to a later showing, as Nadine could go to an earlier sermon, even if it means she won’t have her usual morning routine.  Harriet protests at first but then sees the benefit in the compromise.  In this scenario, both Harriet and Nadine compromise.  Neither truly get what they initially wanted but they both feel satisfied regardless.   Approaching a Conflict Before you are able to reach a resolution, you must first acknowledge that a conflict is occurring.  The denial of conflict or belief that all conflict is negative and should not occur can get in the way of acknowledging or bringing awareness to the existence of the conflict itself.  It is also important to keep in mind that you are only able to control your actions, thoughts, and behaviors.  You may find yourself in a conflict with someone who is passive.  They may not express or acknowledge any feelings of anger, frustration or irritation, even if they are indeed there.  In this situation your first conflict may be confronting them on the possible conflict itself. Resolution in Practice 

  • When acknowledging a conflict, take a deep breath and think of any unmet needs that need fulfilling.  Find the facts in the situation, notice  your feelings, and your thought patterns.
  • Even though conflict can threaten your established sense of self or a sense of ease and regularity, it can also bring about important growth.  Growth for yourself, the other person(s) involved in the conflict and to the relationship you have with that person(s) as well.
  • If you are able, face the conflict at a time when most of your basic needs are met and you are already calm and collected.
  • Empathize with the other person and actively listen.
  • Review lessons on assertive communication.
  • Be careful to not place blame with the other person. 
  • If necessary, let the person know how you are feeling and ask them to empathize with your situation as well.
  • Explain how their behaviors affect you and others.
  • Be respectful.  Do not interrupt.
  • Stay on topic and stay away from rehashing the past. 
  • Offer solutions and listen to others’ feedback and suggestions.  Be willing to compromise.

The items listed above are general rules that are meant  to serve as guidelines.  Each conflict is different from the next and each person handles communication differently. Keep this in mind as you work to reach a resolution.  Exercise  Practice using some of the guidelines for resolutions above on a simple conflict you are encountering with another person.  Practice this with a person you feel comfortable with and who you trust will express anger healthily.  

Let them know you are trying a new approach to communication. Look back to previous exercises and your experience with each.  Which seems to be most effective?  Which exercise really speaks to you?  Maybe you succeeded exceptionally well with meditation. Maybe you really enjoyed the idea of eliminating “should” and “shouldn’t” from your vocabulary.  

Write down what works really well for you and practice that exercise extensively for the next couple of days.  Do you still find it effective?  Why do you think it meshes so well with your personality?  Write your thoughts on it down.   Conflicts and Resolutions at Home Lesson 46   We have spoken at length about conflicts and resolutions in this course.  Workplace conflicts can have a lot on the line, such as risking loss of position or income.  Conflicts and resolutions at home and in personal relationships look very similar.  Conflicts within more intimate and close relationship probably even have more at stake.   

In intimate relationships you often have more to lose and may feel more vulnerable. Additionally, your vulnerability may be enhanced by the knowledge that the other person may know more of your history which could be used against you.  You may also fear that you risk losing trust in a relationship that is very dear to you.  When possible, try to keep situations prioritized and accept that both kinds of conflict can be equally important.  

Resolutions   In the previous section, we included a list on how to reach a resolution peacefully.  If you keep in mind the principles of assertive communication, you’ll remember that it is important that you do not sacrifice your core values or compromise too much of your sense of self in negotiating a conflict.   

In more personal and intimate relationships it is important to bring more awareness to your fears and rigid thinking.  It is important to recognize these fears and thinking patterns and challenge them.  It is also important to recognize that these fears can at times make us feel extra sensitive, become extra defensive, and may negatively influence how you view the facts of a situation.  

 It is easy to think that giving in to another person’s demands would “resolve” a conflict.  This unfortunately only works as a loose band aid, often leaving your anger to fester like an irritated wound.  A true resolution means attempting to satisfy everyone’s unmet needs.   Consider the following:   Nadine attends church every Sunday.  Her daughter, Harriet, wants Nadine to take her to a traveling show Sunday.  

Nadine sees church as a way of reconnecting with herself, taking time for introspection, and to defuse any mounting stress.  Harriet begs for her mother to take her to the show, wanting to go to the earliest show possible.   Nadine bristles at first, thinking Harriet is being inconsiderate.  She would happily agree to any other day of the week.  Nadine acknowledges Harriet’s desire to go, that Harriet may be needing a sense of connection with others in the community, and that Harriet may need a sense of connection with Nadine.   

Nadine suggests they go to a later showing, as Nadine could go to an earlier sermon, even if it means she won’t have her usual morning routine.  Harriet protests at first but then sees the benefit in the compromise.  In this scenario, both Harriet and Nadine compromise.  Neither truly get what they initially wanted but they both feel satisfied regardless.  

 Exercise  Think of values and needs that are most important to you.  Think of things you would not want to sacrifice in the face of conflict.  Write these down, and rate them in their importance.   Make a separate list of needs or values that you are willing to compromise or budge on.  Knowing in advance what you are willing and unwilling to do will give you an advantage during your next conflict. You will be less likely to leave a supposedly resolved conflict with a feeling of regret or resentment.

 

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