• Janie Sterling

5 Winning Ways to Create Connection through Conflict (Part 4 of the Series “Getting Back on Track."

How’s it going in your family relationships right now?



Many of us are spending every day at home day with our families and

have been doing so for quite a while. And although it is necessary for us

to be socially distancing, it can also be very difficult. Tensions can easily

arise under the day-to-day stress of sheltering in place and the stress of

so much “togetherness” may possibly lead to conflict in your house and in your relationships. But, it doesn’t have to be that way when certain techniques are utilized to handle the conflict with effective communication. In fact, knowing how to handle conflict with better communication will lead to greater connection and deeper levels of relating.


So, I’m curious…



When you grew up, how did your family handle conflict? For me, I grew up in a family where we were allowed to feel two

emotions one being happy and the other being cheerful. Feeling angry,

irritated, frustrated, sad or to complain about anything was a BIG no-no

in our house. We were taught to find the “bright side” of every situation and to always find the “silver lining” opportunity no matter what. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for this in so many ways. I am a positive person who is resourceful, resilient and can find ways to quickly rebound and keep on keeping on.



However, whenever real life conflict arose in my relationships, I had little to no ability to handle it or to find ways to communicate or assertively speak up when something was not working for me. Or to really be able to hold space for someone else to air their grievances. I felt as though I literally had no voice and would just have to find a way to accommodate what was not okay for me and to give in to everything

the other person wanted which left me feeling resentful and powerless.


Now, don’t get me wrong. I still believe that in every situation there are

gifts, lessons and gems to cultivate. I also believe that there are times

when speaking up for yourself so that you can work through conflict is a

necessary and valuable tool.


In fact, it is a tool that will help you create deeper connection,

compassion and trust for yourself and for the others in all of your

relationships.


Who doesn’t want more of that?! I know I do and I know you do too!

Here are my best strategies for conflict resolution that you can use now

and in the future long after we are out of lockdown.


Step 1: Establish Ground Rules for the Discussion

Suggesting guidelines to insure that everyone is heard may include such

things as using a calm and civil tone, allowing others to finish their

sentences and listening when others are speaking.


Step 2: Come from a Request not a Complaint

Talk about what you want and need in the situation rather than

complaining about what you do not want. Lead from the “I” to avoid

blaming or pointing fingers.

For example, “I am requesting that together we find ways to better

create a comfortable and clean home,” will be better received over “You

never clean up after yourself and I am sick and tired of doing all the

work around here.”


Step 3: Express Yourself Calmly and Choose Your Words Carefully

Be mindful to avoid using accusatory words, aggressive tones and

combative body language that may quickly escalate the conflict.

Use “I” statements rather than overgeneralized “you always” and “you

never” statements that diminish the other’s character or ability.


Step 4: Be Able to Listen to Different Points of View

Make eye contact and face the person as they are speaking. Ask for

clarification if anything they say is unclear to you to avoid filling it in

with your own perspective, not theirs.

Let the other person know you are listening by echoing and rephrasing

what they are say now and then.


Step 5: Identify the Solutions that Meet the Needs of All Involved

Find a true compromise where everyone can leave the discussion

feeling that their needs will be met. This will deepen the connection,

respect, trust and a positive feeling for everyone involved.

If you liked this and it added value to you, please share it with the

people you care about who may be having unresolved conflict

challenges.


I want you to know that I hear you and I am here for you. I read all of your comments so please keep telling me about any challenges you are having and I will be happy to create free content to support you. I hope you have a fantastic week and, as always, take care of beautiful you.




Hugs,

Janie



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