art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Being curious in conflict

One of the things that happens when we are masterful in conflict is we not only listen carefully and thoughtfully to what is being said and felt. We are also willing to be curious and hear what is going on inside us and inside the other person. The more emotional we become, the more difficult that is, of course. The thing is, that without curiosity we make and react to our assumptions and let our emotions prevail. Often conflict then evolves because our imaginations take over. Without knowing what is really happening we become increasingly upset.

How to become and remain curious at times of conflict is the question. Not surprisingly, it takes patience and self-control to listen for the sole purpose of listening and not for the purpose of figuring out what to say in response. That is, to not just wait for our turn to talk. When conflict and conflicting feelings take over, it takes thoughtfulness to really hear what the other person is saying and feeling. It takes caring for ourselves too to really hear what we are saying and feeling.

Paying attention to what is on our minds that we are tempted to say often helps to uncover important feelings that are worthy of our curiosity, before expressing them. Likewise, hearing what the other person is saying and realizing he or she too may be boiling inside are also important considerations. Neither of us will be curious if we are furious!

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog is about curiosity then and in answering the following questions, it will help to consider a conflict situation that is brewing inside you as an inner conflict. As with other ConflictMastery™ blogs, feel free to ask the questions in the past tense – about conflicts that have already occurred.

  • How do you define what being curious means?
  • When you are usually curious about something someone is saying or doing – and not in conflict at the time – how do you show your curiosity?
  • What happens when you are experiencing conflict with another person that is different than your answer to the above?
  • How does your last answer impact your ability to be curious?
  • What is there for you to be curious about regarding the other person or the situation between you (such as what don’t you know for certain about his or her intent)?
  • What may the other person be curious about you – that she or he doesn’t really know about you or your intent?
  • What do you risk by being curious about what the other person is saying or doing?
  • What may you gain by being curious about what the other person is saying or doing?
  • What needs to happen for you to be curious about things you don’t know for certain about him or her?
  • What is likely to happen if things continue as they are?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

This entry was posted in Assumptions, Curiosity, Self-Care. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *