The biggest obstacle to effective conflict management may just be your own history! You and the others in your relationships all have a past when it comes to communicating, building relationships and managing conflicts.
Your patterns of behavior are built on your perceptions of what is happening to you and how others are relating to you. And most of us have our own best interests in mind when we are negotiating our way through expectations that are not being met. This colors how we see others and what we project onto them when we sense those contrasts and tangled energies that we call conflict.
Seven Tips to managing good balance in the midst of conflict:
1. Remember that people (even you) are rarely as benevolent as they perceive themselves to be. We tend to see our intentions as good, not only for us but for others too. Just notice how often you have easy reasons (or justifications) and you are ready to explain what you are doing and why you are doing it if you are challenged in some way.
2. Remind yourself that others are rarely as evil as their opponents perceive them to be. Give others the same benefit of the doubt that you expect them to give you. In this way, you can be holding the intention and a positive energy field where others have support and opportunity to choose to behave in the best potential way for themselves and for you.
3. Be aware that people rarely spend as much time thinking about the issues as you or others think they do. If you are experiencing a sense of conflict, others may not even notice it because they are not as invested in an issue as you are.
4. Realize that most aspects of conflict spin off other events and are not the result of cold-hearted calculation. Others may not be planning or thinking through what is happening, and they may not even see a need to be seeking common ground.
5. Come from the position that almost all behaviors are motivated by positive intention. Most people do not set out to deliberately hurt someone else or cause upset for others and themselves. And they are often surprised when someone else is offended or put off in some way. It is true that frequently those positive intentions are to take care of and protect themselves.
6. Understand how patterns established in previous experiences impact present perceptions. Every conflict has a history that extends beyond the present. We are a result of our own history of relationships with others. If we have experienced hurt or harm in previous relationships, we must be vigilant not to project similar motivations, intentions or actions onto others in our current or future relationships.
7. If you have difficulty remembering the first six tips, take a moment to go to “the balcony” to get a better viewing point of the interactions the group is experiencing. You always have the opportunity to choose again which will change the energy field for others to choose again also.
Managing conflict more effectively is a passion for Alberta Fredricksen, a Conflict Guide and Spiritual Life Coach. You can be empowered in your personal and professional conflicts through personal coaching or group facilitations. Find more conflict resolution resources at www.HeartPeaceNow.com. Sign up for the Awakened Inner PeaceMaker Program now!