Thursday, October 25, 2012
Resolving Conflicts in Relationships (Part 1)
Ever been so frustrated with your partner over a simple disagreement that you could just wring his or her neck? We’ve all been there – but why is it so difficult to work through these simple disagreements to avoid explosions into full-blown conflicts?
The questions is how do we resolve conflicts when they occur, and even more importantly, how do we avoid allowing simple disagreements, decisions or routine exercises to explode into conflict – whether that conflict be verbal or physical. It is often-times the unnecessary conflicts that emerge over simple things when multiplied over time that drain our patience and capacity to handle the bigger decisions and issues of life that must be worked through in a productive manner within a relationship.
A few tough, but simple principles:
1. Resist the tendency to become easily offended.
2. Be aware of the internal dialogue in your own mind.
3. Remove your own contribution to the problem before trying to correct the other person.
4. Learn to FORGIVE
Resist the tendency to be easily offended.
We are very often offended by events that occur that have no actual reason to cause offense and that the other person in fact had no intention of causing any harm. Yet, we allow ourselves to become angry and may even say, “you made me so angry…”. But, the reality is that no one has the ability to make you angry. Can you think of a time that you became angry or offended after making an assumption, coming to a conclusion, and then taking an action based upon that conclusion, when the initial assumption was wrong in the first place. Many, many simple conflicts in relationships begin in this way.
Be aware of the internal dialogue in your own mind.
Once we have made a false assumption and have become offended, the anger and the offense begins to feed off of an internal dialogue in the mind that seeks to justify the false conclusion and the action that we begin planning to take. You know that you have fallen into a negative internal dialogue when you are in the shower, or driving, or at your desk at work, or anywhere else with no one else around and you are thinking about what someone did to you. This negative internal dialogue is occurring when you play back the situation and talk either out loud or in your own mind about the situation and how another person should have acted differently. You must become aware that this dialogue is not productive and actively bring your mind back to the present.
Remove your own contribution to the problem before trying to correct the other party.
There is rarely a conflict that occurs in which one party is totally right and the other completely wrong. To truly resolve a conflict, we must first examine ourselves. I f you only contributed 5% of the problem, remove your 5% before you attack the 95% of the problem that your partner brought to the table. Look into your own thinking and actions and identify the error in thought, speech or action that you contributed to the conflict and be honest about that first, before you can expect to be heard when you tell your partner what they did wrong to cause the conflict. This is difficult, but absolutely necessary if you desire to restore a positive and peaceful relationship.
Learn to FORGIVE
Cultivating a spirit of forgiveness in a relationship is one of the hardest, yet most important lessons to learn in the art of preventing and resolving conflicts. Forgiveness is a gift that you give to yourself that allows you to stop the internal dialogue of feeling offended and replaying it over and over in your own mind. It is a gift that allows you to stop focusing on the other person that you cannot change and begin focusing on the only person that you can change – yourself. Forgiveness allows you to see your own contribution and choose alternative responses and behaviors that will begin to break old patterns that inevitably lead to conflict. Forgiveness is so powerful that it is written in the form of a guarantee that , “…if you forgive others, your Heavenly Father will forgive you”.
Michal Muhammad is the founder of Give Life Coaching. Bro. Muhammad focuses on applying fundamental, spiritual and practical solutions to solve problems within interpersonal relationships, families and other groups of people.
For more on this subject and others, visit my blog at: http://www.givelifecoaching.blogspot.com
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