Are you afraid of conflict and try to avoid it at all costs? Here’s one way to resolve conflict in your relationship single-handedly, even if your partner is like an angry general!
Conflict is a normal part of life
Conflict is a normal part of relationships today. That said, there are things we can do to make our relationships better, despite the conflict. As we do this, not only do we make our relationships better for ourselves, we actually also make the relationship landscape better for our kids and all generations to come. Truly – by improving our own relationships we can work towards a future without conflict.
Conflict avoidance is not the solution
The funny thing about conflict is that when we avoid it, we end up just getting more of it! So, what can we do about conflicts in our relationships right now to make them better, more progressive, and more enjoyable?
Typically, in the face of conflict, we tend to want to change who we’re in a relationship with. Whether that means trying to change their behaviors or even swap them out with someone else! Typically, this doesn’t work. Trying to change people creates more friction and conflict. Abandoning a relationship for a new one doesn’t resolve anything either. Ultimately, we’ll end up in conflict with our new partner. We could all benefit from productive ways of handling conflict.
Change your relationship to conflict
Ironically, one thing we can do, instead of changing our relationship to the person, is we can change our relationship to the conflict! What is that? Relationship to conflict? Yes! We have relationships with people. But we also have relationships to things, concepts, ideas, and dynamics! If our relationship to conflict is one of taking things personally, fearing abandonment, fearing criticism, feeling victimized, or getting angry, then what are the odds of us having constructive relationships?
We can change our relationship to conflict so that we don’t fear it, and we don’t even worry about it anymore. We can look at conflict like a useful cleansing. Kind of like throwing up after food poisoning Sure, it’s no fun, that said, it feels great to get it all out, and ultimately it’s a great thing!
During conflicts, we have the opportunity to understand and reconcile our thoughts, feelings, and emotions
During conflicts, people get an opportunity to express the way different parts of them feel. Even though, while doing this, they might say a bunch of things that aren’t completely accurate, just being able to say what they feel and to feel heard can allow them to process through those emotions, feelings, and the misunderstandings they’re carrying that create resentment, anger, fear, and other negative emotions. If we support them in this process, instead of trying to correct them or avoid being wrong, we can change the entire landscape of our relationship so that, old recurring problems get healed and we reach a point where there are much more love, joy, fun, and understanding and far fewer disagreements, less emotional pain, and bickering.
Let it all come out
A giant step in this direction is to shift your relationship to those moments when they get angry or upset and start to say things that you don’t resonate with. When they start that, it’s normal to feel discomfort and many negative emotions stirring up inside yourself. It’s also normal to feel the temptation to blurt out, “that’s not true!”, “you’re wrong”, “I didn’t say that”. The thing is, when you interrupt their (read the following carefully) ***process of processing their interpretation*** of the events, you prevent them from getting it out, rehashing it, and re-understanding it! Simultaneously, you become the target of all their emotions and it becomes a battle!
So, next time, let them get it out. Practice loving them while they’re getting it out. If it helps, you can see through their outer shell into their inner child that simply feels vulnerable and in pain and you can love that inner child. In this way, you can start healing things in your relationships right now.
You might enjoy this meditation to support you in resolving conflict in your relationships: Resolving Conflict