Our Home Office was recently graced with a visit from N2’s Care Team leader, David Clyde. The go-to guy for help and advice on emotional care (anxiety, depression, marriage, you name it), “DC” gathered everyone together for our semi-monthly Lunch and Learn to present on the topic of conflict resolution. What he shared was too good to keep to ourselves, so below is an overview of DC’s thoughts on what causes conflict and how to resolve it.
P.S. For the most accurate experience, be sure to read this post in a thick Irish accent!
IF YOU WANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE, EXPECT CONFLICT.
Unless you move somewhere with a population of zero, conflict will come your way. It’s not something we can easily escape from.
Think about the last time you were in a conflict with someone. When asked the reason for it, you may have responded with if he would only…, or she has no respect for…, or if they could just… But, here’s the thing: your biggest problem in conflict is not the other person – it’s you.
Our heart desires certain things – peace, comfort, control, approval, etc. – and if or when we don’t get those things from people, the overflow of our heart comes out. The people we are in conflict with are simply instruments that expose what is already within us.
HOW DO WE RESOLVE CONFLICT IF OUR HEART IS THE PROBLEM?
The solution always depends on the diagnosis. Common “solutions” include avoiding the person (which will work so long as you can avoid them and if they aren’t your wife or kids!), compromising (which is fine until someone doesn’t follow through on their commitment), or seeking mediation from a third party (which will work for each individual conflict, but then you will need mediation again and again).
But if the problem of conflict is the heart, then the solution has to be a heart solution, not a symptomatic solution. So, what steps do we take for a heart solution?
- An honest self-examination – What do you want? Can you see your shortfalls? What are you not getting? Are you able to step out of the ‘heat of conflict’ and take a real look at the situation? How are you reacting when you don’t get what you want?
- Let go of what you want – Are you willing to let go of what you want? If not, why not? Do you value the relationship more than the thing you want or desire? What has taken over your desires?
- View yourself correctly – What are others seeing in you? Are you showing irrational behavior? Is your avoidance, aggressiveness, and anger impacting others negatively?
- Reach out to the people you need to – Can you be sacrificial and love them? Can you encourage them rather than rebuke them? Can you help them in areas of weakness or fear? Will you graciously speak truth into their life rather than fight with them? Can you exchange patience and pursue peace rather than conflict? What action will you take to do right?
- Figure out a plan – To help resolve conflict, have you come to a good understanding of yourself and the other person? Have you been honest to one another about your heart and desires? What will it look like to extend love and grace to each other? Can you involve others to help you stick with a plan for peace?
OFTEN, CONFLICT IS A BATTLE BETWEEN PRIDE AND HUMILITY.
While pride makes you more aware of other people’s faults over your own, humility makes you more aware of your own faults. While pride weakens or kills relationships, humility strengthens and builds them. So, there are dangers of not addressing your heart and pride first. No matter what, you will still experience conflict. We have no choice in that. Where you do have a choice is how you will resolve it.
Written by David Clyde