It would be great if conflict resolution was a mandatory class offered in high school or college. I’m sure many of us would have sat in the front of the class working diligently to get an A. Instead, we wandered into the world with a limited knowledge of how to deal with the challenges that arise during conflict. My strategy was to ignore it or confront it as a victim with anger and hostility. This was usually followed by the desire to cut the person out of my life that I felt had wronged me.
Since life can sometimes be an ugly teacher, I was continually presented with scenarios designed to help me graduate past my outdated conflict resolution skills. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention and continued to play out the same drama.
I found myself throwing away relationships and opportunities that I spent years building over frivolous disagreements that I did not know how to work through. Also, since I had not properly worked through these challenges, I had a hard time moving forward. One day I wondered what it would feel like to get to the other side of a conflict. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, check out some of the strategies I used to successfully create peace in my life.
– Choose your battles wisely: Every disagreement does not have to escalate to a full blown argument. Before making a big deal out of a situation, take a minute to see if it’s worth it.
– Everything isn’t personal. Sometimes we get so deep into our feelings that we are unable to tell the difference between someone’s opinion and a personal attack. Attempt to look at the scenario objectively before flying off.
– Acknowledge your emotions. Anger is sometimes a front for fear or some other emotion that we don’t always listen to. Make sure you are expressing the right emotion.
– Listen and be empathetic. If you are someone that dominates a disagreement, this one is for you. This is the perfect opportunity for you to fully listen to what the other person is saying and put yourself in their shoes
– Take the time you need. Resolution may take time. Pretending like you are over a situation, when you really are not will not help you get there quicker. Unless it takes you years to process conflict, take the time you need to fully heal.
– Admit you are wrong. Do you know the person that is never wrong and never apologizes? Chances are they are stuck and rarely move past issues. Often it takes two parties to contribute to misunderstandings. Those that deny their part rarely learn their lesson and usually continue to make the same mistakes. Admitting your role and apologizing if necessary helps heal most challenges.
– Lastly, choose to forgive and move forward. Moving forward is a choice. Once you feel at peace about the conflict, it is time to let it go and enjoy your relationships.
How do you handle conflict? Through constructive conflict resolution, do you allow yourself to get to the other side?
Courtney Bell is passionate about helping people achieve their goals. She is a life coach, professor, and blogger with over 10 years of experience creating strategies for adults and students to live the lives they desire. Courtney currently lives in Chicago. Like her Facebook page – Courtney Bell Coaches and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cbellcoaches.