Conflict is neither good nor bad. Conflict is a necessary part of life. How we choose to resolve conflict can either clarify points of view and draw us closer, or it can destroy our relationships or businesses and pull us further apart. Learning and practicing healthy way of dealing with conflict can make a big difference in our lives. Do you know that all couples both the happily married and the most unhappily married disagree 60-80% of the time according to psychologist and researcher Dr. John Gottman. It is not the conflict that causes the problem; it is how we deal with the conflict.
Conflict is inevitable. How do we deal with conflict in a way that both draws us closer together and allows us to develop greater trust and respect for each other?
- Move toward, not away from, conflict; Be honest. Be transparent. Hiding conflict just creates a wall between you and the other person. Don't hide the tension or the conflict. This just keeps families and couples apart and has the potential to destroy businesses. Most of us have not learned how to deal with conflict well. This is a communication skill that can be learned and can serve you well in all areas of your life. (For more on communication skills, check out 7 Tips For Authentic Communication). If you don't know how to deal with conflict well, I strongly suggest you seek out someone who can help, such as a relationship coach.
- Be worthy of your partner's trust; Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to restore. Our most important asset in our relationships and in business is our ability to be trusted. We all have disagreements, and resolving conflict is very difficult when trust is lacking.
- Openly discuss all financial issues; For many couples, talking about money is even more difficult than talking about sex. When we love someone we don't want to hurt them. You may be embarrassed or ashamed that your finances are not what you would like. You can't fix a problem if you don't talk about it. If you hide it, you are not being trustworthy. Lack of trust and lack of honesty destroy relationships.
- Resolve conflict by discovering points of agreement; We all will have disagreements. We each don't see the world in the same way. When we look for points of agreements rather than focus on disagreements, however, we allow for the possibility of new solutions that neither has ever thought of before. Creatively looking for new solutions allows both our business and our personal relationships to flourish.
Resolving conflict takes courage, but the end result is well worth the effort. As I often tell my coaching clients, "You can be right or you can be in a relationship. You can't be both." How you resolve conflicts can either draw you closer together or push you further apart — your choice.
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