Last week I shared that many of my patients have conflict, but rarely achieve resolution. What does resolution look like? Some people think that closure/resolution means agreement; it doesn’t. In some cases, agreeing to disagree is the best and sometimes only solution. The key to resolution is the ability to let go of the negative emotions tied to the conflict and release the emotional pain. How do we do that? The first step is to define the conflict and agree on what is causing the argument. The next important step is for each person to express their feelings related to the conflict and validate each other. Remember that validation requires acknowledging and accepting the other person’s feelings without having to agree with them. The next few steps include brainstorming solutions, negotiating options, and compromising on the best possible choice/decision. The last step is to select and implement the solution that you’ve mutually agreed upon and let go of the issue. These steps can be a helpful way to work through an emotionally charged conflict. Taking responsibility for your actions, apologizing, forgiving each other, and letting go of the negative feelings will enhance the likelihood of success with conflict. I believe it’s important for our children to see healthy and effective conflict resolution so that they aren’t afraid of conflict and observe their parents working through it successfully. Conflict doesn’t have to be bad, we can actually grow through conflict. Deal with conflict constructively and reap the benefits.
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