RESOLVING CONFLICT BY DISSOLVING IT

1. DEFINE WHAT THE CONFLICT IS ACTUALLY ABOUT.

“What is it, exactly, that we’re fighting about?”

Everyone sees the world through their own, unique window. Studies on spousal disputes show that about 75% of the time, partners are fighting about completely different issues. These are the kinds of questions that should be asked: “What’s really the issue?” then, “What, exactly, is your concern here?” or “What do you think/feel is our point of conflict?”. Then the questions should move to something like: “What is it that you want to accomplish?” and, ultimately, “How can we work this out?”

2. DIRECT THE CONFLICT TOWARD A DIFFERENT REALITY.

“It’s not you vs. me.. it’s you and me vs. the problem!”

Remember…the problem is the problem! It’s counterproductive to try to “defeat” the other side, because after losing, the other side just wants a rematch, only with more firepower so that they can win. If you “win” at the other person’s expense, you also pay a price in the long run. You create a world of rematch after rematch after rematch. Bringing your adversaries to their knees may bring you instant gratification, but bringing them to the table causes everyone to win!

3. DISCOVER YOUR SHARED CONCERNS AGAINST YOUR ONE SHARED SEPARATION.

“Where is our common ground?”

It’s always smart to deal with the conflict from where the relationship is the strongest, not the weakest. In other words, let your place of agreement be ground zero, because it’s easier and more effective to move from areas of agreement to areas of disagreement, than the other way around. Meet the other person where they are, acknowledge their viewpoint, and then stand on this common ground as a platform from which to work out respective differences.

4. DISCERN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTERPRETATIONS AND FACTS.

“Let me ask a different question.”

It’s pointless to ask people who have been in a fight what happened. You’ll just get their interpretation/opinion/version of what occurred. A better question is “What did you do or say?” Then you get perceptions that are much closer to facts, not merely opinions. Basically, facts trump perceptions in conflict dissolution.

5. DEVELOP A HABIT OF FORGIVENESS.

“I forgive you because I want to forgive you.”

Forgiveness is a habit that can be developed, and reconciliation is impossible without it. Many people are willing to “bury the hatchet”, but they insist on remembering exactly where they buried it, in case they need it for the next battle! Let it go completely (you’ll only be over it when you decide to be over it). Rewrite your grievance story. The best definition of forgiveness is “giving up all hope for a better past.”

6. DECIDE TO START LISTENING ACTIVELY.

“When I listen, people talk to me”.

That’s a much better declaration than “When I talk, people listen to me”! Habit Five in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Listen with the intent to understand, not just with the intent to respond. Take the first step toward reconciliation by being willing to listen first. This unblocks the logjam of “right/wrong thinking”, it controls the ego, diffuses power struggle, and causes compassion to triumph over fear.

7. DEAL WITH EVERYTHING OUT OF A PURE HEART.

“I want what’s best for all of us!”

You can’t resolve conflict and move other people away from violence if your own agendas and motives are questionable. Moral authority is imperative in matters of resolution. When you stop needing to always be right (an addiction that has to be broken), you will become a greater servant to humanity. This is a “big picture” concept, but you can do it. Remember, love never fails.

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9 Responses to “RESOLVING CONFLICT BY DISSOLVING IT”

  1. OMG…..perfect topic for the day! Shouldn’t be surprised.

    DO TELL………what was P. Debye saying, I was laughing so hard at the happening of it, even though there was no way to hear her or know what she was saying out loud to you.

    Peace,
    Northern Light

  2. First, just hearing/reading the subtitle-like quotes feels dissolving. Most cool.

    I think my favorite point is #3: like Debee’s revelation yesterday, “giving up all hope for a better past” is one of those AHA thoughts that makes us aware that a light has been lit in a hidden room of the heart…revealing a darkened corner in the faith room called “It’s All Good”. Layer by layer, line upon line, the darkness becomes completely overcome…Lord, I believe, shine a light on my unbelief!

  3. NL, she was so into it that she forgot that everyone else was there and just spoke up…we have a lot of conversations that sound like what I was talking about last night, and in her head we were in one of those…anyway, she thought that I had said the point that I was making backwards and tried to help me out, but I had said it right…

    Thanks for what you said about anitcipating the service…

  4. I know the times on these comments are wrong, but I can’t seem to change the time zone setting on this blog…

  5. Awesome word last night!

    Bishop, you have a bad link to this site from your prayer request site. I think wordpress is missing an s.

    Later

  6. Thanks, Donald…got it fixed…

  7. Bishop, I really appreciate this blog room! Years ago we would come home from church week after week…knowing we were saved, hearing the same story… but always asking the question-but what do we do now! ? We needed some skills! 🙂 That’s why we love CITN! It is a place of communication that gets to the heart of the matter.

    When I listen, people talk to me. I like that statement a lot.

    Effective communication exists between two people when the receiver interprets and understands the sender’s message in the same way the sender intended it. Oh, if we could just do this all the time! We don’t take for granted the gift that you have in the area of effective communication. It is the reason we keep coming back. We want to know more and more! We want to listen and then do

    Here’s one….

    Being so interested in what you have to say that you listen mainly to find an opening to get the floor. NOT COOL!

    With everything that is happening right now in our lives, reflecting back what we hear each other say helps give each a chance to become aware of the different levels that are going on below the surface. This helps to bring things into the open where they can be more readily resolved.
    If we listen so we can accurately understand the other’s view, we can also be more effective in discovering the flaws in our own position.

  8. LifeSkills site seems to be getting more and more attention. Is it because of the combined words in the titile, (cause I see the flow of it like it is)…or is there another reason it is the only site title not in all capital letters on the blog menu ?

    I certainly think it’s deserved.
    Just a thought.

    Peace,
    Northern Light

  9. I truly enjoyed this teaching. It was directed in a simple and concise manner. That in its self says alot about communication.

    I liked the point that P. Nancy also mentioned, when I listen people talk to me. I think my favorite though is number seven, deal with everything out of a pure heart.

    It seems that when I search my own heart that there is always some motive there. It doesn’t seem altogether pure or not pure. I do feel that when resolving conflict though that it is a seeking to find what is best for all of us that gives it the win/win feeling.

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