Healthy Conflict Resolution
Conflict is an inevitable part of any relationship, be it personal or professional. However, how we handle conflict determines the overall health and longevity of our connections. Fighting fair is a crucial skill that allows us to navigate conflicts with respect, empathy, and a commitment to finding mutually beneficial resolutions. In this article, we will explore strategies for fighting fair and fostering healthy conflict resolution.
Additionally, I recommend having a conversation with anyone that you're in a close relationship with about how you are going to fight, what rules you are going to follow, and boundaries you are going to respect. While the suggestions below are good ideas for all relationships, the truth is that when you form a close relationship with another human, both you and the other person are nuanced and unique, and the relationship itself is nuanced and unique due to the circumstances surrounding it. Therefore, customizing the way you communication (including resolving conflicts) in each relationship is beneficial.
Healthy Conflict Resolution Tip: Check Intention
The human brain is wired for connection, and all of us desire to be seen, heard, and understood as well as feel love, safety, and connection. The primary tool that we use to achieve these things is communication. However, the effectiveness of these conversations often hinges on the intentions behind them. Before engaging in a conversation, it is essential to take a moment to reflect on our motives. The three questions that I always ask myself are:
Choose the Right Time and Place
Timing is crucial when engaging in conflict resolution. Avoid discussing sensitive issues when you or the other person is tired, stressed, or distracted. Find a quiet and private space where both parties feel comfortable expressing themselves without interruptions or external pressures. Creating a conducive environment sets the stage for productive conversations.
Seek to Understand
Approach conflicts with an open mind and a genuine desire to understand the other person's perspective. Practice active listening by giving them your full attention, asking clarifying questions, and summarizing their points to ensure accurate comprehension. Showing empathy and validation can help foster a sense of safety and trust, promoting more effective communication. (Learn More About Active Listening Here)
Healthy Conflict Resolution Tip: Use "I" Statements and Express Emotions
Apologize sincerely when necessary and express a commitment to making positive changes moving forward. Please note that a commitment is different than a promise. Taking responsibility for your actions requires accurate self-assessment. Be honest about who you are and what your abilities are. For example,
Stay on topic
Stay on the topic that was originally brought up for discussion. This means that the person who brought up the issue, concern, or feeling will be primarily taking the role of the speaker, and the other person will be taking the role of the listener. As the listener, it can be normal to experience an impulse to tell your side of the story, be defensive, or turn the conversation around and blame the other person. If you're able to control these feelings, stay in the conversation and, if necessary, you can even take notes on the thoughts and feelings that the topic is bringing up for you. You can reference this notes after a few days, and if the concerns feel valid, you can bring them to the other person. This avoids reactive, defensive "hurts" in the relationship, it saves time and energy, and it allows you to further understand yourself and reveal your authenticity. If you are unable to control these feelings, ask for a time out and return to the conversation when you're not in your reptile brain.
Take Responsibility For Your Needs
When you know what you need, and you take 100% responsibility for getting your needs met, you no longer expect the other person to read your mind, or give you what you want. Assumptions and expectations go out the window, and clear requests and healthy boundaries come in the front door.
Practice Creativity, Compromise and Win-Win Solutions
Approach conflict resolution with a mindset of finding win-win solutions. Explore various options and be open to compromise. Look for common ground and seek creative solutions that address the needs and interests of both parties. Remember, the goal is to find resolutions that are mutually beneficial and promote the growth and harmony of the relationship.
Remember the big picture
Above all, remember the big picture! If you are in relationship with this person, my guess is that you want to create a positive, loving, safe relationship. Keep your ultimate goal for the relationship in mind as you move through the conflict.
Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care
Sometimes conflicts can become heated or emotionally charged. It is important to recognize when emotions are escalating and take breaks if necessary. Step away temporarily to calm down, gather your thoughts, and regain emotional balance. Engage in self-care activities that help you relax and rejuvenate before returning to the discussion with a clearer mindset.
Fighting fair is an essential skill that promotes healthy conflict resolution and strengthens relationships. Remember, conflicts are opportunities for growth, understanding, and strengthening our connections with others. By fighting fair, we foster healthier relationships and create a foundation for long-lasting harmony.
Mindy Amita Aisling
Life Coaching for Big-Hearted Overthinkers & Entreprenerds
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Mindy Amita Aisling, is a professionally trained and board-certified leadership, authenticity, and entrepreneur coach.
Mindy exceeds all requirements set forth by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) for Master Coach certification.
Mindy is also a licensed mediator, communications coach, and conflict resolution practicer. As a mediator, she has worked both in private practice and as a court appointment mediator at her local county courthouse.
Through her innovative approach, she assists clients in examining their limiting beliefs, questioning their assumptions about how the world works, and releasing the notion that they are anything less than perfect. As a result, individuals who work with Mindy cultivate the ability to stand firm in their beliefs, live authentically and decisively, and discover an experience of life that is easy and graceful.
In 2021, Mindy founded How to Be Human and Entreprenerd. These programs have enabled her to share her wisdom and knowledge with a broader audience in service of her vision of helping others live authentic lives This, in turn, has empowered more individuals to lead their most TRUE and COURAGEOUS lives.
When she is not working, Mindy can be found playing outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, creating art, spending time with friends & family, or with her nose deep in a book.
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