By Rev. Paul N. Papas II
April 2, 2012
Instead of being the “fastest gun in the West” with your anger, strive to be the first to work at resolution and reconciliation. Those who are hot-tempered stir up strife, but those who are slow to anger calm contention. The title of peacemaker is much nobler!
Conflict has been with us since the beginning and it is not going away. The question is how do you handle it?
The problem just might be simply the result of poor communication.
Recently a mother got into a heated debate with her three-year-old daughter while discussing an upcoming road trip. The daughter seemed to be insisting that she did not want to be buckled into her car seat. “Stand” she kept saying. The mother told her firmly, “You will have to sit!” The daughter responded in frustration, “Stand” The argument escalated until the mother suddenly realized that the little girt was trying to say, “I don’t understand!”
Sometimes people struggle to find the right words to express a deeply felt need or emotion. They may not even quite understand what they are feeling inside. It may be up to you to ask thoughtful, probing questions and then listen intently for the real message behind your beloved’s words.
If you are too quick on the draw with your temper, you’ll miss this opportunity for constructive communication and deepening your relationship – and you better take cover, because things are going to fly!
A conflict can occur between individuals, groups, or among members of the same group. It can occur when you’re at home, at work or in a social setting.
This usually means each person or group: sees a situation in a different way; wants a different outcome; or has different ideas about what to do. It does not mean that one person’s ideas are better; it does mean they are different.
Individuals or groups may have strong feelings about the problem or situation. For example, they may feel: angry, jealous, lonely, cheated, scared, frustrated, and/or disappointed.
We often experience misunderstandings when dealing with: difficult people, broken relationships, jealously, diversity, and/or gossip.
Conflict can be hard to deal with. A person faced with conflict may: try to avoid the other person (unresolved conflicts can have negative physical, emotional and mental health affects on the people involved); or even attack the other person with criticism, insults, name-calling or even violence. The stress level involved in unresolved conflict can lead to serious medical issues, including mental illness, stroke, or heart attack.
Again, communication is the key to successful conflict resolution.
Sometimes you will need to disengage, take a moment, and take deep breaths to continue.
Be a good listener. Avoid interrupting. Ask questions when the person has finished speaking. Also, sit up, face the person and relax. Let body language tell him or her that you are paying attention.
Restate what the person is saying in order that you may understand the other person’s position.
Say what is on your mind without being hostile. Criticism, threats or name-calling won’t help solve the issue. You should be assertive, expressing what you think and feel without attacking the other person.
Focus on the problem, not the people. Look for common ground.
Sometimes you’ll need a mediator to resolve the issues.
It really is okay to disagree with people; you just don’t need to be disagreeable.
There are people who would rather have a root canal than deal with conflict.
There are those who internalize conflict causing several medical conditions such a mental illness of depression or become paranoid, or suffer a stroke or heart attack or suicide. PTSD, a well known medical condition of a mental illness starts with conflict that has not been fully dealt with.
The main reason why people don’t seek help in the beginning is because of the Stigma attached to asking for and getting the help. Yet, if they had a broken leg they would rush to the Emergency Room.
Be a friend to someone in need of a listening ear, you may save a life. A long time ago I heard that we have two ears and one mouth, which means we should listen twice as much as we talk.