Conflict is never about changing who you are. It is merely a difference in how people think about things. Haven’t we all heard, “Conflict is going to happen, you need to get used to it.” And yet, I still hate conflict. As in, I hate it some much that I would rather change my name, leave everything I know and move states (or countries) just avoid conflicts. But, I’m still here and I’m still learning to deal with disagreements. Here are some of my methods to working through issues…
Take A Breath.
At the very least, simply pause when you have a confrontation. At the most, pray with the person or for the person that you are having issues with. My husband and I were reading a devotional this week, and it talked about a demon of strife. I found this to be, not only an interesting description but also a very accurate description. See, we have had conflict, arguments really, which lead nowhere and just made us upset for days. But, now we are praying at the start and during our conflicts. Our attitudes are different, kinder, nicer and more focused on getting a resolution than on staying in the win. The Bible says that where the Spirit of God is, there is peace, so the opposite of that is that where the Spirit is not there is strife. We have seen both of these truths in our lives, so take the time to breath and pray during conflicts.
Maintain Your Calm.
Your reactions, including how calm and logical you stay during a conflict, can speak volumes about your character. Here’s the science of it – if you ‘lose your cool’ and start getting upset, you are literally shutting down the part of your brain that allows you to make informed and logical decisions, and, at the same time, you are turning on the part of your brain that works with your survival. This will immediately escalate any situation and will not make the situation better. An easy way to keep your peace is to force your mind to remember “I am okay, I am not in danger, and disagreements are not going to hurt me.” It will have the effect of keeping your mind logical and able to communicate to the other person.
Find the Cause.
This is my struggle. I tend to point out and focus on things that have nothing to do with anything that is actually bothering me. My dear husband has learned to let me cry until I figure out what the problem really is, AND then we talk about it. However, what tends to happen, is that I can claim way to many things are the problem, before I cry out the issue. How many of you do this, too? Take the time to think about and understand what is actually causing the conflict. Again, I am not good at this one, but, sometimes, when I am being rational, I try to step back and timeout. When I do this, I can figure out exactly what is the cause of the conflict and relationships tend to be preserved.
Don’t Look to Win.
This week, my husband and I came across a great piece of marriage advice. It said never seek to change the other person, but instead make kindness the rule of disagreements. If you are trying to change the other person or ‘win’ an argument, you have stopped caring about how you are making them feel. It is imperative that arguments do not become personal. Refusing to take OR make a conflict personal will help you reach a resolution faster, and you may just stay friends afterwards too.
Keep it Positive.
This is something I learned in teaching, and I still try to carry it over to other areas of my life. Research has shown that it takes 3 or more positive statements to counteract 1 negative statement. The closer you are to a person, the more their words will impact you. I may be making that fact up, but it makes sense to me – I don’t care about an issue that Joe-on-the-freeway has with me, but it hurts deeply when it is someone I care about. Even in a dispute, keep respect and stay positive – towards the other people and towards yourself. Speaking of positive, here are some cute, fluffy ducks and 10 rules for staying positive that I stole off of Google search.
I hope these tips help you have more peaceful conflicts. I would love to hear from you about how you are implementing my easy to remember conflict tips, so comment below!