It's easy to be all Nama-freaking-ste when life is full of daisies and rainbows, but what about when it's not?
Conflict is the real test of character. It allows us to see how much growth we (or another) still has to do in a far more enlightening way than when things are easy-peasy.
A couple of years ago, I had a misunderstanding with another mom at school around something between our daughters. But man, the way this woman handled conflict made me want to be her friend forever.
She called me right away before things could get ugly, addressed it head on, and told me how she wanted me to know that no matter what had happened, I needed to know that us working through this on behalf of our daughter's, and our relationships was the most important piece.
I was blown away. I gained serious respect for this individual. She gave me something to shoot for in my own honest communication when things get bleh with others.
Conflict is sticky, uncomfortable, hurtful, and worse, fatal to a relationship (that perhaps needed a boundary in the first place). But understanding our own style, as well as where we can grow, can help us all when inevitable conflict rips through our life.
Check out this list of conflict styles and see where you might want to up-level.
To avoid is to decide that neither the relationship, nor achieving your goals is important. You disengage from the person and issue completely. One way avoidance can be helpful is when we are too upset to deal with the conflict rationally. In this sense, it can only be used as a short term strategy unless total separation from goal and relationship is desired. Long term avoidance or "pretending" there isn't a problem to begin with leads to deeper problems at the level of authentic intimacy in any relationship.
Sometimes our own goals are a bigger concern than the relationship, itself. These are often exchanges with people we don't know well, when we're making a large purchase perhaps, or one time, business interactions. Here, the outcome is the most important part of the conflict. The relationship matters less than the goal, like when you're buying a piece of property, perhaps.
This is the opposite of competing. Here, you value your relationship with another over your own goals. There is certainly merit in this approach at times. It is often a response for many women who are conditioned pleasers. The danger here is that in the effort to accommodate another, you disenfranchise yourself. While this can be beneficial in moderation, as an overarching habit, it's quite disempowering.
The idea here is give a little to get a little. Here the relationships and the goals of each side are valued. This *can* weaken the relationship slightly and not allow the goal to be fully met. But sometimes it's our only choice when we don't have the time we need to process the conflict fully. It certainly works better as a short term strategy as opposed to long term one.
This is really the win-win approach. We go in valuing both the relationship as well as our side of the story or goal. We allow both sides to be heard and create a new understanding of how this conflict may actually bring us closer and lead to a deeper understanding of our commitment to our individual goals.
This requires buy in from both sides, and works most successfully when both sides have a similar vested interest in relationships and goals (not to mention emotional maturity). It takes time and commitment and is not usually a quick fix in dealing with yucky feeling stuff.
Check out this killer graph that depicts the above mentioned...
There you have it, ladies. We are responsible for only ourselves when in conflict with another. We cannot own how another person responds in dealing with something difficult.
But perhaps if we handle challenge skillfully, and with collaboration in mind at least initially, we can be models even when those with whom conflict arrises don't share our outlook.
Happy brawling, y'all!
Wanna understand the inner workings of your own mind and habit patterns even more? Than, please...
March 16-23, 2019