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Checking Our Assumptions When In Conflict

One of the things that many of us do when we are in conflict, is to make assumptions about the other person and his or her motives. Depending on the person, the situation, what is said or done (or not said or done), and our frame of mind and heart at that time, there are varying levels of assumptions we may make. For instance, we may start out giving the other person the benefit of the doubt and make excuses that demonstrate some empathy and/or understanding. This may be of the nature, “He must be having a bad day”. Or, “She is just a little sensitive”. On the other hand, we may go directly to malevolent assumptions like, “He’s mean-spirited and just wants to be hurtful”, or “She always has to play victim”.

Reflecting on and checking out our assumptions helps us become more masterful at managing conflict. To most effectively respond to some of these ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions), it helps to consider a specific situation that is ongoing or one that has recently happened:

  • Considering a specific situation, what did the other person say or do that you found particularly irritating?
  • What are three possible reasons that he or she generally did or said that?
  • What are some other possible interpretations for the other person’s actions/words?
  • If you do this sort of thing yourself at times, what are your reasons?
  • If you check it out and you are right about your negative assumption(s) about the other person in this particular situation, what will that mean for you?
  • If you check it out and you are not right about your negative assumptions, what will that mean for you?
  • What may surprise you about the other person’s motives that would be the best case scenario for you?
  • If checking out your assumptions with the other person’s motives is a challenge for you, what is that about?
  • What happens if you don’t check out your assumptions?

Any other comments about this topic or other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) you suggest about checking out assumptions will be welcome.

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