It has been said that us humans spend half of our lives asleep. With that fact in mind, it certainly is a great motivator for me to want to be resourceful and make every moment count of the daylight hours that I’m awake.
Relationship conflict is one of the biggest guzzlers of our precious resource of time. Although multiple books, seminars, conferences have attempted to tackle this theme, it still remains a huge obstacle for many. I am no means an expert but I definitely want to share from my life what works for me in helping deal with clashes. There are three steps I like to take towards dissolving and resolving conflict: Stop…Engage…Interpret
The first step is to STOP. When two people are in a heated argument, there is plenty of talking (and sometimes yelling) and little listening. The only way to even begin resolving anything is for one person to decide they are going to stop. It is human nature to want to be right and be the winner in an argument. However when conflict has devolved to the point where no one is listening, if nobody stops eventually it just ends up with two drained and exhausted losers.
After someone has taken the first step and decided to stop, the second step would be to ENGAGE. Have you ever walked through the woods and decided to stop and cock your ear to listen to the sounds? It is amazing the sounds you’ll hear when one has made the decision to engage. Likewise in dealing with conflict. When one stops and decides to tune into another person, you start to hear sounds you didn’t hear when two people were trying to talk over each other.
One may hear the sound of anger or a touch of sadness in their voice. Experts say that when dealing with conflict, everything stems from an original emotion. All the yelling and defensive behavior are a reaction that comes from the original emotion. The key is to engage and find out what the original emotions were that started the conflict in the first place.
INTERPRET would be the third step towards conflict resolution. Now that one has stopped and engaged with another person and discovered the emotions that are causing their behavior, it is time to interpret and do some detective work to find out what actually happened. What chain of events caused them to become upset? Is this something that just happened or have things been boiling inside of them for some time now? Has there been damage caused to your relationship and if so how much? Interpreting and assessing go hand in hand.
One of the greatest challenges for me in dealing with conflict is that I tend to be someone who is very cerebral and logical. And i have to remind myself that when I’m dealing with an issue with someone, it isn’t a logical debate filled with facts and research.There is emotion behind the other person’s words and actions. People want to feel heard, not have more info thrown at them. Once people feel like I’m tuned into them and making them feel heard, things tend to de-escalate very quickly and what once felt like a mountain is on its way to becoming a molehill.
There is emotion behind the other person’s words and actions. People want to feel heard, not have more information thrown at them. Once people feel like I’m tuned into them and making them feel heard, things tend to de-escalate very quickly and what once felt like a mountain is on its way to becoming a molehill.