“Every Interaction is an opportunity to enhance another person’s self-esteem or diminish it.”
Conflict is a natural part of life but we’re suffering so much from not having the skills we need to resolve conflict in healthy ways. Trauma from conflict keeps us stuck in negative cycles in our relationships.
It’s time to chart a different course. Conflict can be used to empower, unify, and elevate consciousness. We can feel safe and secure in relationships in ways we never thought was possible. We can let go of our armor and feel true joy and freedom.
The key shift we need to make is from win-lose to win-win.
Our culture operates from a win-lose paradigm. Conflict is a competition for power and control. We white knuckle it through conflict. We move on, but deep down we still feel injured and unsatisfied and resentful. In win-lose, we survive the conflict.
In win-win, we thrive from the conflict. The goal is teamwork. Everyone’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences matter. Differences are seen as complements and we build on the strengths of everyone present. We get creative. The goal is to find the sacred 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. option.
There’s a critical difference between win-win and compromise. In a compromise, there’s a premise of giving something up and accepting lower standards. In a win-win, you are collaboratively creating something even better than you could have imagined when it was only your way or mine. Intention is key. We set the intention that conflict is the vehicle for developing healing, empowering, and mutually satisfying relationships.
Though it’s completely life giving and world changing to create win-win solutions, it does require more self-awareness, time, and patience than a win/lose solution. However, like with anything we practice, the more we do it, the easier it gets, and the faster we can move through the process.
5 Tips for Healthy Conflict Resolution:
1. Increase Your Awareness.
Awareness is key to liberation so the first step is knowing how win/lose shows up for you. Do you try to get power and control by overpowering someone else or by self-sacrificing? It’s very common to flip back and forth between the two, even in one conflict. Sometimes we aggress to get our way, other times we abandon something really important to us. Watch for getting stuck in manipulating others as a way to get your needs met, or squashing your needs to belong.
2. Tap into Your Motivation.
Make a list of your top 3 reasons why it’s important for you to have better conflict resolution. Maybe it’s because you hate how you don’t speak up, or the opposite – how you’re hurting people with your words. Maybe it’s because you notice that conflicts are causing more disconnection than connection in your life. You might even notice that you’re constantly on guard, always at the ready to defend, or you walk around with a sense of never really being able to feel safe or trusting. You might be wanting to pass something different down to the next generation.
3. Commit to Being A Team Player.
Set the intention to enter every conflict as a team player, to build on everyone’s strengths, and to use your conflict as a vehicle for personal and collective expansion. The win-lose paradigm comes from a place of fear, insecurity, and lack. Say these affirmations to break through your underlying wounds and build a new pathway:
“I am loved and I am loving. I am accepted and I accept. I live in a creative universe with an abundance of solutions to any problem.”
4. Learn Non-Violent Communication.
Non-violent communication was developed by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. to promote empathy during difficult communication. At our core, we want to be seen, heard, and validated. In non-violent communication everyone’s needs are valued and our deepest level needs are never in conflict. We take radical responsibility for our own thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and wounded parts. It’s an empowering practice that can help you make quantum leaps in handling emotionally sensitive communication.
5. Work with the Flower Essence Cherry Plum.
Flower essences are incredible allies in healing. They help us shift from limiting patterns into elevated ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. When dealing with conflict, here are a few examples of how flower essences can help you: they can help calm your nervous system and effectively speak up. They can help you shift from using blaming and shaming language to language that invites cooperation and connection. They can help you choose stepping away instead of escalating. Cherry Plum helps you pivot from being controlling either by repressing your feelings or erupting, into being emotionally steady.
I invite you to imagine being able to handle conflict with grace and an open heart and to adopt this approach as an act of service for yourself, those you love, and the world.