Things You Can Control When You’re Resolving a Conflict

Finding resolution is ideal, but what do you do to maintain your sanity when a conflict drags on? If you can’t count on others to work with you to resolve the problem, look for things you can control. Finding the power to change what you can provides relief and comfort during a difficult time. Plus, it gives you something positive to focus on.

  • Your plan for the future: Consider what’s important to you and follow a strategy for a period of time that feels comfortable. Knowing what you want your future to look like helps you look past the current situation and focus beyond temporary problems.

  • Your perspective: Dealing with a persistent difficulty can become the routine — until you make the choice to change how you look at the problem. Stop and reassess your point of view.

    Ask yourself whether you can find a learning opportunity somewhere in this situation. Perhaps the conflict is a chance for you to step outside yourself and extend a little compassion to the other person. Or maybe if you purposefully and mindfully examine what’s going on, you can honestly say, in the scope of things, that the disagreements aren’t really that important to you.

  • Your responses: It’s frustrating, challenging, and disappointing to feel like you’re the only one making an effort, but the good news is that no matter what he’s doing, you always have the option to control your own responses.

    Try changing how you react to what’s happening, and look for ways to respond to hot button topics that won’t escalate your anxiety or cause your blood pressure to spike through the roof. Consider who you want to be and choose your responses accordingly.

  • Your investment: Think about how long you’ve lived with this conflict and how much effort you’ve put into trying to control every aspect of the problem. Then consider the reality that sometimes, in trying to control everything, you lose your ability to control anything. Spend less time thinking about it, talking about it, and engaging in it.

  • Your role in the conflict: As difficult as it is to admit to others that you have some responsibility in the conflict, it can be equally difficult to admit that fact to yourself. Self-assessment requires you to step outside of your thoughts and feelings and consider how your actions and reactions look to others.

  • Your expectations: When your expectations don’t fit the situation, even though you’ve tried everything you can imagine to make them fit, give serious thought to changing your expectations.

  • Your energy: Changing where you focus your energy can provide a huge relief from the stress of conflict. Instead of putting 110 percent of yourself into the conflict, consider your alternatives at work or in your personal life.

  • Your own story: When you’re not emotionally involved in a problem, you can see both sides, so take that ability to be objective and apply it to your own situation.

  • Your method for processing: You can keep the impact of a conflict to yourself and stuff your emotions away, or you can choose to find a constructive way to process what’s happening. Talking with a mentor, family member, friend, clergy, and professionals can be very helpful, and you can do a lot on your own as well.

  • Your character: Sure, you follow directions and have job functions you’re responsible for, but no one can make you do anything. Take personal responsibility and give no one else the power to make you behave in a way that is unbecoming, unethical, or dishonorable. Show your best side and not an unchecked series of poor reactions.

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