Most of us shy away from conflict, doing everything in our power to avoid it. However, living a life free of conflict isn’t always possible and there are moments when arguments or disagreements arise, whether in the workplace, at home, or in your relationships that need to be dealt with in a healthy way.
Learning how to deal with conflict is an important life skill. It allows conflict to be both a natural and productive part of your life and provides an opportunity to improve communication, strengthen relationships, and overcome your fears. In this article, we will be sharing how you can deal with conflict in a healthy way. Read on to find out more.
What is Conflict?
Conflict is a natural occurrence in all human relationships. After all, as people, we are all different and we have our differences, whether that be in opinion, ways of living, or political views. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to agree on everything, all the time. And so, it is only natural that on occasion conflict may arise.
Conflict has the potential to strengthen your relationships or cause them damage. When conflicts arise, it can be easy to let your emotions get the better of you. However, this can do more harm than good and can often cause mismanagement of conflict that fractures relationships and causes significant stress and anxiety. Learning how to deal with relationship conflict in a healthy way is essential, not just for maintaining your relationships but for protecting your mental health.
How to Manage Conflict in a Healthy Way
The following skills will help you learn how to manage conflict in a healthy way so that you can have the ability to face uncomfortable or difficult situations with confidence.
Accept that Conflict is Natural
Often, when we are faced with conflict, our natural instinct is to run away and avoid it at all costs. This is only human and is a completely natural response to uncomfortable situations. However, the best way to deal with conflict in a healthy way is to address it and the first step in doing so requires you to accept that conflict is natural.
As we have mentioned above, conflict is a natural occurrence in all kinds of relationships. After all, we are all human and we all have our own ideas and opinions about things. So, it’s only natural there will be times when we disagree with one another. Accepting that conflict is a natural result of these differences is the first step in dealing with it in a healthy way.
Conflict often arises when one or both parties don’t feel they’re being listened to. When you take the time to actively listen to what another person is saying, you commit yourself to the conversation and connect with the other person on a deeper level.
Taking a step back and giving the other person room to share their thoughts and feelings can be extremely powerful. Listening helps strengthen relationships, helps others feel valued, and also encourages others to listen to you when it comes to your turn to talk.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
For many of us, when we are faced with conflict we may experience strong emotions such as rage, frustration, anger, despair, or even hopelessness. While these emotions are unique to you, having them rise to the surface in the middle of a conflict can cause you to say things you don’t mean, use profanities, exaggerate, or name call, all of which will merely escalate the conflict further.
According to an article by Stylist, “just because you don’t really mean what you’re saying, doesn’t mean those words won’t make an impact. Not only can they hurt the person at the receiving end, but they can also cause long-term damage to your relationships.”
If you find your emotions tend to get out of control in these situations, you need to learn how to keep them in check. One of the best ways to do this is to walk away, take a few deep breaths, and gather your thoughts before returning. Sometimes, taking a few minutes to step away from the conflict can give you the space you need to recentre your thoughts and refocus before returning feeling calmer and more in control.
Agree to Disagree
Sometimes, no amount of arguing is going to make someone see or understand your point of view and you have to be okay with that. As humans, we all have our own life experiences and points of view. And no matter how nice your friends are or how amiable your colleagues are, you aren’t going to agree on everything.
According to Psychology Today, “What if the point of a conversation is not to agree, but to have a conversation? What would happen if instead of trying to change or control each other, we focus on seeing and understanding each other? […] Reasoning with each other strengthens relationships. As we learn to engage impasse, we will have more opportunities to give credit where it’s due […] Demonstrating that we want to believe the best about someone boosts respect and collaboration.”
So, when conflict arises in your relationships and the conversations feel like they’re going around in circles, sometimes the best thing you can do is agree to disagree.
Pick Your Battles
Have you ever been in the middle of an argument that has felt like its been going on for days? And you’ve been talking about the same point for so long that you’ve actually forgotten what you were arguing about in the first place?
Sadly, this is not uncommon. Conflict can be a draining experience and sometimes, getting into the conflict in the first place just isn’t worth your time or effort. This is why it’s so important to pick your battles. For example, if your partner hasn’t done the washing up again but they’ve had a nightmare work week, it’s okay to cut them some slack. Sometimes, it’s just not worth another argument and you’re better off forgiving and moving on. Otherwise, you end up trying to punish the other person while also managing to punish yourself in the process.
As you can see, there are many ways you can learn to deal with conflict in a healthy way. We have shared some of the most widely used strategies and we hope they will help you manage the conflicts in your own life with more confidence and understanding.
Recently I have run across a variety of articles, books and conversations that convince me that mediators can be in the drivers' seat for significant cultural change if they care...By Larry Bridgesmith