Resolving Conflict in a Healthy Way

Successful conflict resolution depends on our ability to:

· Manage stress while remaining alert and calm. By staying calm, we can accurately read and interpret verbal and nonverbal communication.

· Control our emotions and behavior. When we are in control of our emotions, we can communicate out needs without threatening, frightening, or punishing others.

· Pay attention to the feelings being expressed as well as the spoken words of others.

· Be aware of and respectful of differences. By avoiding disrespectful words and actions, we can resolve the problem faster.

Conflict triggers strong emotions and can lead to hurt feelings or painful discomfort. When handled in an unhealthy manner, emotional pain can cause irreparable rifts, resentments, or breakups. But when conflict is resolved, in a healthy way, it increases our understanding of one another, builds trust, and strengthens the bonds in our relationships.

Sometimes the best way to show understanding is to admit that we can’t understand just how bad a person feels. That’s why a person who is hurting would probably rather have us say, “Your pain must be awful. I wish I could understand just how sad (or hurt or lonely) you feel.”

The key to understanding the other person is identifying their feeling. These feelings can be implied in body language or tone. So it’s helpful to make the implied explicit by commenting on what we observe:   “You sound angry, your shouting.”
“You look sad, your crying.”
“You seem worried, your trembling.”

Do not make threats or hold the relationship hostage by giving ultimatums. This only serves as a form of manipulation. These behaviors antagonize another’s fear of rejection, abandonment and loss. The attempt to scare someone into agreement leads to resentment due to feeling controlled by seeking submission rather then compromise.

Avoid using “Shoulds”: The word should implies I know what is “best” and if you don’t do as you “should”, you are then guilty of being wrong. Replace the word should with, “I prefer…” Remember everyone’s perception of reality is their “truth”. There is no agreed upon right or wrong, good or bad. We only have personal preferences and taste.

We can make an active effort to look at what we can control and what we are responsible for. We cannot expect others to read our minds and must avoid the belief that they “should know…” without having to say it. The reality is, we are powerless over everyone and everything but ourself.

We have control over ourself. We can choose to make our own happiness an equally important priority. We can express how others behavior makes us feel and what we would prefer instead. We can choose to create distance to advocate for our own happiness. No one can make us act out aggressively, we always have a choice and we have control over our decisions.

Click to visit original source at PsychCentral

Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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