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  • Writer's pictureMona Cooley

Conflict Can Be Healthy

The blog this week is for you to think about the quote below. What I am encouraging you to do is think about how you can implement what is said. Families matter more than ever in this world and it seems like struggling with conflict is happening too often.

“Conflicts can actually be healthy. People who are capable of expressing their differences without becoming hostile are less likely to suffer from emotional and physical stress and have a much better chance of resolving problems to the satisfaction of both parties.” ­–Toastmaster’s Manual, Interpersonal Communication– Diffusing Verbal Criticism.

This is one of the speeches I had to do to complete a designation. The importance of this is that the whole process teaches you how to listen non-judgmentally, be calm, acknowledge what is said, be curious and ask questions. Is it easy? NOPE, IT IS DAMN HARD!!! Is it uncomfortable? YEP!!! However, learning the techniques of being calm, listening, asking questions, making sure the person has been heard, and that YOU have heard correctly will result in less conflict.

Interpretations happen! We all have our interpretations of situations. Have you ever explored to see how accurate you were about a situation? Or did you ignore the situation and leave feeling frustrated with what happened? THINK ABOUT IT. Challenge yourself by being curious; ask questions about the situation. You heard someone say, “So stupid,” and you thought it was aimed at you so you were mad. You thought you were being called stupid. Is this accurate? Maybe the person thought this is, “So stupid” to be fighting about this. Realize that fighting about this would not be worth it. Taking things personally comes to mind. The thinking starts to unravel and now the whole situation is out of control in your mind. You are not alone in this; we all have a sensitive side that takes in words without checking to see what is meant.

What do you think you can do about it? There are options such as withdrawing from the situation and not addressing it at all or you can explain your side of the situation. Meanwhile, the person listening to you has contrived some thoughts and challenges what you are saying. Now you are defending each other’s case and who wins? Neither wins if it is not a win-win outcome. The goal is to have a win-win situation, so when conflicts arise in the future, you can trust and believe that it will be worked out favourably.

Okay here is another question to ponder. What are the facts of the situation, not the emotions, but rather the facts? Emotions get in the way of what is factual. Believe me, I have been in these positions. I used to defend my case and yell back. I had to learn to manage these situations better. Self-control is important in the process. Park the emotions for the moment and determine the facts by checking with the other person about the situation. Practice listening to what is said and reflecting back to be sure you heard right. If you are both on the same page, then the next step is to figure out how, calmly, this can be resolved. You will likely realize the statement, “So stupid” was not meant to define you as a person, but rather an expression of what the person felt about the situation. CLARIFICATION of what is being said is so important.

NOW back to the quote – Conflict can be healthy as long as you respond calmly, listen, clarify and make sure you understand what the meaning was. If the meaning was, “You are stupid,” then stay calm and say, “I don’t appreciate you saying I am stupid. I would appreciate it if we talk respectfully to each other.” This can award you better results.

FINALLY – what are you going to do when criticism does come your way; how will you handle it? Remember as said in the quote, hostility affects you emotionally and physically. Your health is important so be GOOD TO YOURSELF!!! Your self-control will serve you well, especially your health.


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