The conflict has been brewing all day. The combatants are at crisis point, and it feels like the entire office is holding their collective breath waiting to see what happens next. At this point, they’re ready for bloodshed, or at the very least, some very strong words.
No matter how much you like the other person, at some point, conflict is likely to happen. While most conflicts are fairly small (like trying to decide where to go out for dinner), left untended a conflict can fester and grow. That’s why it’s so important to resolve conflicts in your relationships before they have a chance to take on a life of their own.
How do you go about doing that?
- Start by listening. But don’t just listen to the spoken words, but the feelings behind them. It’s the emotions that drive the conversation after all! By listening actively, meaning pausing to ask questions, clarify, and to reiterate what you think the other person is saying, you tell the other person that what they have to say matters. But more importantly, you’re letting them know that they’re being heard.
- Look for resolution over being right. Giving up the notion that you have to ‘win’ is where you start seeing the solutions. Conflict is not a competition.
- Stay at the moment. Instead of focusing on what happened that brought you into this conflict, pay attention to what’s going on right now. Now isn’t the time for blame. Rather look for solutions.
- Decide what’s important right now. It is called ‘picking your battles’ and is important in determining whether a thing is worth fighting over. Ask yourself if this is just an issue over a minor annoyance that will be easily forgotten, or if you have something deeper going on that maybe needs to be addressed.
- Know how and when to disengage. That means being able to do what it takes to walk away. It might be forgiveness is in order. It might be that you’re just going to need to agree to disagree. Worst case scenario? It might be time just to let the matter go entirely. Whatever the case, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in the conflict.
The last thing anyone expects is for one of the key players in the conflict to open their mouths and… make a joke?
Maybe it doesn’t feel like a resolution to the conflict, but actually, laughter goes far beyond being the clichéd ‘best medicine.’ How? First of all, laughter takes the tension out of the situation, which is exactly what’s needed to regain perspective, build stronger bonds, and yes, sometimes smooth over the differences.
How then do you effectively use humor to resolve conflicts?
- Make sure that both parties are ‘in on the joke.’ By keeping humor wholesome – not at the expense of the other person, you’re focusing on inviting them to laugh with you, rather than laughing at them. How can you tell if you’re doing it right? Humor is tricky, and so your best indicator of getting it right is to gauge the other person’s reactions. If they’re not laughing, chances are they don’t find it funny. Stop!
- Check to make sure that you’re using humor as a defensive weapon rather than as a positive tool. If you’re using humor to mask emotions that you’d rather not deal with right now, then it’s time to put a flag on the play. Stop immediately and ask yourself what it is that you’re not dealing with and why.
- Work on that sense of humor. Every good comedian knows how to read their audience. The same goes for using humor with another person, especially in a situation that’s already a conflict. Watch the nonverbal cues. What language are you using? Keep the tone positive and light, and mean it. That means don’t use jokes as a means of cruelty. Lastly, consider what you might use as an inside joke. Inside jokes not only keep the situation light but create a deeper intimacy with whom you conflict.
- Most importantly, be Playful! A little bit of silly fun is a good thing. Not sure how to tap into that kind of fun and crazy side? Explore humor in other ways so that you always have a repertoire to fall back on. Watch things you find funny on TV or in movies. Listen to jokes. Read the funnies. Find that side of you that likes to play and encourage it with creativity and fun.
And no matter what, cut yourself some slack. It takes practice to be funny. Keep at it, and you’ll find your natural sense of humor, and be able to tap into it when you need to. That conflict won’t know what hit it!
Resolving conflicts isn’t a hard skill to learn. By following these tips, you will discover how better to deal with conflict in every kind of relationship – whether business or personal. So take heart – a misunderstanding doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Instead, look at your conflict as a step toward better understanding that will, in turn, lead to better relationships in the long run.
What are the Causes and Benefits of Conflict?
Your day might have started fairly ordinary. Only somewhere along the way, things blew up. Now you’re in the middle of a massive conflict with no clear idea of how you got there.
It’s normal to fall into conflict – we’re only human after all. Some conflict is even good for us! But did you know that by understanding how these blow-ups come about, you can learn how to avoid many of these conflicts in the first place?
Conflict comes about because we’ve hit a point of disagreement with another person. While a difference of opinion doesn’t have to turn into conflict, every conflict has at its heart a difference of opinion. These differences manifest in these areas:
- A difference in values
- A difference in motivations
- A difference in what you perceive is true or necessary\
- A difference in wants
- A difference in the understanding of various ideas or even ideals.
How do these differences then turn into conflicts?
- The difference has somehow become perceived as a threat. Whenever you feel threatened, there’s going to be trouble. Threats bring out that whole urge to fight to protect what’s important to you. Hence, your disagreement escalates into the realm of conflict.
- You’ve let that conflict fester. So, what might have felt like a minor threat at the beginning has become something much bigger in nature because of two factors. First, you neglected the conflict by not dealing with it right away. Second, the passage of time has given the conflict room to grow. So, now it’s blown up into something bigger than it ever was in the first place. How? Keep reading, and you’ll see.
- By now your perception is off-kilter. It might be that what you perceive to be a threat – was never a threat in the first place. How does this happen? Chances are you lost your objectivity in the situation. Especially if you feel threatened. Then add to it #4.
- Your emotions got involved. Conflicts tend to attract strong emotions. But the stronger the emotion, the more likely you are to blow things out of proportion. Emotional reactions also make it a lot harder to deal with a conflict in the first place, so chances are if you get emotional, you’ve already let things get out of control.
Are There Benefits of Conflict?
When you experience a violent storm, it’s easy to rail against the weather. The wind and the rain can seem terrifying, especially when coupled with the crash of thunder and the bright crackle of lightning splitting the sky. But ask any farmer, and they’ll tell you that even storms have their benefits. The rain is necessary for their crops. And believe it or not, when lightning strikes the ground, it puts nitrogen into the soil that is essential for things to grow.
Likewise, conflicts have certain benefits that we don’t always see. Keep reading to find several of them you might not have considered before now.
- Conflicts make us aware of new ways to do things. The very fact that there’s a conflict tells you that someone else has a different point of view from your own. By exploring those conflicts, you are likewise invited to explore the idea from a new angle and see a new solution that wouldn’t have occurred before.
- Conflicts enable us to verbalize what we want. Think of conflict as a way of being able to genuinely express yourself that doesn’t come up easily at other times. It’s through conflict that we decide what’s important to us, and how to put those feelings into words.
- Conflict drives flexibility. When we conflict, we’re hoping for others to see our point of view. But also in dealing with conflict, we’re forced to see the point of view of those around us. That is where we learn how to become flexible, to acknowledge that we’re not always right. The conflict then becomes the teacher of two traits that you can’t live without—that of being open-minded, and of understanding humility.
- Conflict forces us to listen. The only way to resolve conflict is to listen openly to the other person. Through listening, we acquire wisdom and learn to make better decisions.
- Conflict drives solutions. When you deal with conflict, you are likewise dealing with a problem that needs a solution. Resolving that conflict means finding those solutions, usually in new and innovative ways. Conflict, thus, forces us to solve our problems in creative ways.
While you might shy away from the idea of conflict, it’s good to remember these benefits. Without conflict, we stagnate. So while the storm outside might rage, remember that all tempests do come to an end. The sun will come out again, and in that light, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve grown and benefitted by that conflict.
You need to maintain your objectivity, keep your emotions in check, and realize that every conflict is an opportunity to grow. Conflicts are normal in life. But it’s the resolution of conflicts that draws us closer together and builds both trust and intimacy.
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8 Tips to Face Your Fear
Fear is a natural emotion that humans feel whenever face with painful and challenging circumstances. We tend to be afraid to handle our concerns or even walk away from those things. However, the longer we suppress our fears in our subconscious minds, the longer it would affect our social and occupational functioning. Take the case of drug addicts who see drugs as a form of escape with their worries and personal issues. They’ve chosen to run away from their fears instead of confronting it. With this, it significantly changed them that affects only themselves but their families as well.
Overcoming fear is an important step to free yourself from situations or things that would limit you. It may take time to conquer it, but by taking action, you’re doing a favor for yourself. Here are the useful tips that can help you to overcome your fears.
- Recognize and Accept Your Fear
The first step that you should do is to recognize your fears. It may be hard at first. But acknowledging it allows you to know that you need to do something to get rid of your worries. From there, you will understand that fears exist to warn us about the possible danger that we’re going to encounter. It lets us know that we need to take better decisions in our lives.
- 2. Take Time Out
If your mind is clouded by fear and other unpleasant emotions, taking time out from it is your option. It means that you need to distract yourself from overthinking about it. You can go for a walk or take a nap to shift your mind. This is different from running away from your fear. This gesture is crucial as you need to get yourself ready in facing your fears.
- 3. Calm Yourself
This relates to taking a break from your fears. Aside from engaging in diverting task, you can also practice calming yourself. Breath slowly and if you can, meditate for at least 5 minutes. By doing this, it makes you objective in facing your fears.
- 4. Visualize Happy Thoughts
If you are letting your fears empower you, thinking about fighting it would not be easy. You must first create a mental image of happy thoughts. It can be anywhere and anytime with anyone. The main goal of visualizing your thoughts is to let make you relax and control your fear.
- 5..Seek Help
If you think you don’t have enough courage to overcome your fears alone, you can seek help. Talk with your trusted friends or family members so they can help you in facing your fear. They can also provide some advice that you can use. Apart from close friends and family, you can also seek the professional assistance of a psychologist or counselor. They can devise customized therapy programs to alleviate your fears.
- 6. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
People who are empowered with their fears tend to run away from it. Some of them turn to alcohol and drugs, believing that it would subside their fears. Instead of forming a drug or alcohol addiction, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can do regular exercise and eat nutritious foods. You can also get enough quality sleep to make your mind relax. By having a healthy lifestyle, you are making yourself physically and mentally ready to face your fears.
- 7..Plan, Practice, and Act
There are fears that you can conquer by acting it out. For instance, you are afraid to talk in public and want to defeat this fear. You can plan to enroll yourself in public speaking classes to boost your confidence and learn the techniques of managing your worries at the public places. After that, you can practice talking on the stage. You can do it alone or with the presence of a few people. The essence of this step is to gradually expose you to fear so when you’re faced with the actual issue you’d be able to handle it well.
- 8. Treat Yourself
Trying to overcome your fear takes a lot of courage. If you’ve been with a stressful day, you can reward yourself for doing your best. It can be anything that would bring happy feelings. It would also serve as your reminder that there are greater things that you have compared with your fears.