On Restoring Relationships & Embracing Conflict (5 Steps)

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For the past 2 weeks I have been immersed in a family wedding. Family weddings have this natural ability to bring out so much emotion; it is the perfect platform to rehash family tensions, conflict and brings up unresolved issues. For most of my life, I have always had a fear of conflict. I have been of the mind to all get along and play nice…world peace, harmony and all that. I have realized though in order for us to evolve and be our most authentic self, overcoming conflict is essential and we all need to embrace it. I have learned that with every conflict there is opportunity for positive change…the ability to break through and transform.

Here are my 5 steps on doing this….

  1. Practice Empathy – Generally when we experience conflict, it’s because we hold our own point of view in higher regard than the other person’s point of view. Of course we would. It’s ours and we want to be right. In practicing empathy, we assume that their point of view is as valid for them as mine is for me. We have different perspectives and are both right. This is hard to do because it’s hard for the brain to hold two conflicting thoughts. This however can be done when we remind ourselves to open our minds. As Steven Covey very wisely said, “Seek first to understand and then be understood”.
  2. Listen Actively – When someone has stated their point of view take the time to digest and summarize your understanding of this to them. This helps them to know that you’re trying to understand them. They are more likely to operate from their rational brain centers once they feel understood.
  3. Respect Peoples Boundaries – When you are in a conflicting situation, the objective is to reach an agreement. Being able to recognize and respect people’s boundaries is absolutely key. This gesture builds an environment of trust which will allow for an open and honest dialogue and gateway to reach a resolution.
  4. Understand the Power of an Apology – A sincere apology is one of the most powerful tools. A genuine, effective apology is an act of honesty, humility, and generosity.   It is a sign of courage, not weakness.
  5. Give Love –It is the only vibration, intention and activation that heals – nothing else. When anything else is present it is based out of fear, and fear never heals. When we let fear lead we create more fear and then we’ve got a mess to climb out of.  Some people may be apprehensive of this in business, but I have always believed that we can practice love in the work place. According to the book Love is the Killer App, Author Tim Sanders talks about becoming a LoveCat.. This is the notion that when we are empathetic, collaborative and compassionate people we all win in business and life.