Understanding the essence of conflict is helpful for spotting it and learning how to deal with it in a healthy and productive way. Here are some fundamental principles to consider:
- Conflict is a perfectly natural occurrence that can easily arise when one or more people come together in an environment.
- Conflict can actually prove to be valuable and productive, if recognized in time and handled in a productive manner. Conflict situations can be great opportunities for personal growth, particularly by understanding and applying healthy ways of resolving the issue.
- Conflict usually arises when people begin to feel that they are not being respected or heard, or that their needs are not being met.
- When confrontations arise, our emotions can prevent us from responding rationally to the circumstance.
- Our past impacts our present experiences. Early experiences with conflict have a direct effect on our current responses to conflict as adults.
- Conflict is often magnified in situations where limited space or resources create a perception of potential lack. “Survival instincts” kick into gear in an effort to ensure we are getting our fair share.
- Due to the overly emotional nature of confrontation, even the nicest people in the world (even you and me), have the potential to escalate matters into an unhealthy and unproductive situation.
- Unresolved conflict can create resentments, destroy relationships and lead to long-term, permanent damage to all parties concerned.
Powerful Questions for Conflict Resolution
When you approach a conflict, does the other person perceive that you care most about them, or about winning the argument? Whether a situation is conflict in a personal, close relationship or in a business, formal setting, you are dealing with another human being. And that human being wants to be respected and valued. One way to show that you value the other person is to ask some powerful questions. After listening to their viewpoint, you can also share your observations. For example, if you regularly have conflict with a co-worker, you might say, “It seems to me that you and I struggle with communicating about what part each of us should play in the project. How do you think we could improve that?” Questions that show you care about the other person and the relationship create a dynamic between you that makes the task of conflict resolution easier, smoother, and more enjoyable for all involved. Here are some you might find helpful:
- How does conflict affect this relationship?
- What do most of our conflicts revolve around?
- How do we usually handle conflicts?
- What do we do well?
- What do you wish we did better?
- How would our relationship change if we handled conflict more positively?
Maintain an open heart and a willingness to listen to what’s being said and what is not being communicated. Look for a win-win outcome that is healing for all involved and in so doing, plant new seeds of love that can blossom and grow! Everyone just wants to be heard and everyone has something to offer our precious world!
Sandy Hounsell founder of Soulawaken is on a mission to clear the toxic dustbin that is holding people back from stepping forward into the vibrant, healthy joyful lives they deserve.
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