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The Beauty of Conflict
Posted: 7/22/2013 | Happiness Comments
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How to best deal with conflict in Relationships

“I am not a victim of emotional conflicts. I am human.” ~Marilyn Monroe

There’s no getting around it; conflict is just a natural part of life and relationships. We may not like it, but when we learn to manage conflict constructively, our lives and relationships grow smoother and deeper. Every time we resolve a disagreement or other discord, we become stronger. We can create deeper intimacy and fulfillment in our lives. So, how do we do this?
 
It depends upon the relationship. If you’re experiencing friction with your boss for example, your response will be altogether different from clashing with your spouse or significant other. If you’ve read my blogs you know how much I value knowing yourself. When you’re in conflict, it’s important to know why. Check in with yourself: what feelings and thoughts are coming up for you with this disagreement?
 
Of course, “I” statements are helpful. It makes a difference to say, “I feel, I think,” rather than “You are, you do.” It’s easier for the other person to hear and stay open to what you’re expressing. If you’re having a conflict with your boss, you may not want to express everything you’re feeling, depending upon how close you are and whether your boss is interested in your inner life. It’s probably best to share your thoughts. For example, “I was wondering if we could talk about paychecks. The last two have been late and I’m a little confused.” Or, “When you have time, I’d like to share my thoughts about the new scheduling changes.”
 
If you’re speaking to someone close to you, it’s helpful to share your feelings about their actions. For example, “I feel a little hurt and sad when you’re a half hour late for our dates.” Sharing your feelings honestly can create room for the other person to share their experience, too, and help to resolve the conflict peacefully. You can also go a bit deeper and tie this conflict in with your history. “I think it’s hard for me when you’re late because my mom used to pick me up from school late. I had to wait outside with the teachers, and I felt embarrassed and sad. I guess when you’re late it feels like you’ve forgotten me and I don’t matter.”
 
I help many clients learn new communication skills so they can speak clearly and truthfully to others. Rather than speaking from that raw voice of the wound, they learn to speak from the processed, mature, inner part of them to be most effective. It doesn’t work to say, “Listen, you!  You think you’re time is more important than mine? Who do you think you are?” That’s the raw, wounded voice that likes to blame and shame others.
 
Here’s the good news: you can learn a lot from conflicts. As you watch your own reactions and examine your historical triggers, you’ll resolve disagreements more quickly. You won’t lock horns with other people as often, and your relationships will grow richer. Conflicts offer us an opportunity to know ourselves better, and as a result, create greater intimacy. In time you’ll find it easier to face discord. Life will become much more peaceful as you manage conflicts constructively.
 
How have you been able to speak up effectively with others? Please share your comments; they make a difference for us all. 



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