Conflict is a normal part of a healthy relationship. No one can reasonably expect two people to agree on everything, all the time. Some people believe that avoiding conflict is the way to maintain a healthy relationship, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter what the setting or type of relationship, couples and individuals must learn to resolve conflict in positive and healthy ways.
Mismanaged conflict causes harm to relationships, whereas conflict that is handled respectfully and positively offers opportunities to strengthen the bond between people.
In this piece, we’re going to go over some of the key skills people need to resolve conflict in meaningful and positive ways. Take a look.
What Successful Conflict Resolution Depends On
Being able to resolve conflict successfully depends on one’s ability to do the following:
- Quickly manage stress while remaining calm but alert.Being calm but alert allows you to read and interpret people’s verbal and nonverbal communication accurately.
- Control behavior and emotions.By controlling your emotions, you can successfully communicate what you need without coming off as intimidating or threatening.
- Pay attention to the person’s expressed feelings as well as their spoken words.
- Be cognizant of and respect differences. Avoiding words and actions that are disrespectful will almost always lead to faster problem resolution.
How to Manage and Resolve Conflict
To ensure that the way you manage and resolve conflict is positive, respectful, and successful, you should consider the following.
The key to successful communication is listening. Listening allows you to connect deeply with others’ needs and emotions, but your own as well. Listening is how you strengthen, inform, and make it easier for others to hear you when you speak.
Prioritize Resolution, Not Winning
When it comes to disagreements, arguments, and conflict, you cannot expect to come to an agreement or resolution if you’re going into it wanting to win the argument or be proven right. You need to respect the other person and their point of view.
Focus on the Now, Don’t Drudge up the Past
You impair your ability to assess the reality of the current situation if you’re holding onto grudges from the past. Try to avoid thinking of what transpired before and assigning blame, and instead focus on what can be done in the here and now to solve the issue.
Pick Your Battles
One of the most important lessons one learns when it comes to maintaining relationships and resolving conflicts within them is not to devote time and energy to each and every issue you may have with the person. Conflicts are normal, but they are draining. Pick your battles. Take things one step at a time.
Be Willing to Forgive
You cannot resolve conflict if you aren’t prepared and willing to forgive the other person for how they may have hurt you. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to punish the other person.
Be Prepared to Let Things Go
If you’ve gone over a particular conflict and tried your best to be respectful and resolve it positively but haven’t been able to come to a solution, it is best to disengage and move on.
If you and your partner or spouse seem to be going through a rough patch and require professional help resolving conflict in your relationship, you should consider talking to a professional couples’ counselor.
Azizeh Rezaiyan is a therapist who specializes in couples counseling and marriage counseling in Palo Alto. Call her at (650) 206-9973 for a free 20-minute consultation, or book an appointment.
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