Last summer, when I was in Colorado to speak at the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Rocky Mountain Retreat, I met a woman whose energy, warmth and charisma swept through any room she was in.
Today Paula Langguth Ryan broadcast an interview with me on her BlogTalkRadio show, the Conflict Free Zone. We discussed dealing with the conflict resolution “groan zone” and how to let go of unresolved conflict. It’s always such a delight to talk with Paula!
I hope you’ll click on the above link and listen to the 30-minute conversation. I referenced several articles of mine in the interview and you can find them here:
Making peace with the conflict groan zone
“Get me outta here!”
That’s the thought a lot of people have during workplace conflict. It’s the thought you have if you’re uncomfortable with conflict: I don’t like this. It’s messy. Maybe even painful. Get me outta here!
It’s the thought you have if you’re too comfortable with conflict: This is going nowhere good. I’m going to lose my temper. Get me outta here!
It’s the thought you have if your plate is overflowing and the thought of a time-consuming problem is too much.
How to let go of unresolved conflict
A workshop participant recently asked me, “When I can’t get the other person to talk, and the conflict can’t be resolved, how do I let go of it?”
I’ve had the privilege of bearing witness others’ decisions to let go of an unresolved conflict and move on with their lives. And it really is a conscious decision not to let too much of the past eat up too much of the future. Those decisions, which I’ve witnessed as an executive coach, as a mediator and as a college professor of conflict studies, usually became possible when one or more of these had occurred.
Letting go of anger, resentment and grudges
In How to Let Go of Unresolved Conflict, I shared this Bill Clinton story about Nelson Mandela:
“Mandela made a grand, elegant, dignified exit from prison and it was very, very powerful for the world to see. But as I watched him walking down that dusty road, I wondered whether he was thinking about the last 27 years, whether he was angry all over again. Later, many years later, I had a chance to ask him. I said, ‘Come on, you were a great man, you invited your jailers to your inauguration, you put your pressures on the government. But tell me the truth. Weren’t you really angry all over again?’
A visualization for letting go of things you can’t change
My mother died during an asthma attack when I was in my mid-twenties. I grieved and grieved for the loss of both my mother and my best friend. And when I was diagnosed with adult-onset asthma a few years later, I took it very seriously.
That’s when I discovered visualizations and their power to change my reactions. I’m going to share with you a powerful visualization for letting go of something your brain wants to keep chewing on, even when it’s past the time you can do anything about it.
Letting go of unresolved conflict
A regular Conflict Zen® reader wrote to tell me she’s been working on changing her past conflict patterns, primarily avoidance. Linda went on to say (and I share this with her permission),
“Maybe it’s me, but now that I’m facing some of the conflicts and trying to solve them, I’m finding folks sometimes want me to do anything but. I hear phrases like ‘let it go,’ ‘it’s no big deal’ or ‘let’s move on.’ What are some questions I can ask myself to ensure that I am differentiating correctly between it truly being time for me to let it go and move on, and others’ avoidance just perpetuating a dysfunctional group dynamic?”.
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