We all have moments of frustration whether they be associated with a friend, family member, coworker, and/or significant other. I believe and recommend that we all challenge ourselves individually and as a society to take this into account in our own growth process so that we can all continue to grow in better ways when it comes to how we handle conflict in our daily lives. How we handle conflict plays a significant role in how others perceive us as well as how we perceive ourselves, which reflects strongly on our self-perception as well as our overall mental health.
What qualifies as a conflict?
Conflict is defined by a minimum of two parties having a difference in opinion on resolving an identified “problem” as well as each parties’ ability to manage the conflict or conflicting opinion on how to go about solving the problem at hand. The ultimate goal of conflict resolution is being able to resolve the conflict in a sensible, fair, and efficient manner.
One of the easiest ways that I use myself and often recommend to others is to follow the CARE acronym:
- Communicate: Open communication is key to any conflict as it allows for all parties to have their concerns/opinions heard, validated, and clearly understood. It also allows for any miscommunication that occurred in the lead up to the disagreement or conflict to be clarified.
- Active Listening: Listening without interruption and also making sure you are actively listening to the words, feelings, and staying attended to others’ body language with the ability to repeat back what you heard succinctly and without judgement.
- Recognize AND manage your own emotions: Emotional management is key to understanding yourself and others, which then allows you to collaborate with others even in a heated disagreement when emotions are running high in order to work toward win-win solutions.
- Encourage: The ability to see the “big picture” and identify common aspirations and needs, to where every party knows their opinions and feeling are important and are heard as well as validated. This is the ultimate goal in the process of conflict resolution, which requires the individuals involved to be open to and actively ready to engage in a lot of cooperation, assertiveness, and open communication among the parties.