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Taking Stock

After a conflict is over, it helps to ‘take stock’ of what happened and to learn from the experience. One of the definitions of this idiom – ‘to take stock’ – relevant to a conflict situation is “to think carefully about a situation or event and form an opinion about it, so that you can decide what to do”. Another pertinent reference is: “To assess a situation, to conduct a personal inventory of ones beliefs and values, etc.”

It frequently happens in the aftermath of conflict that we revisit what occurred – even when we don’t want to. Memories of what we or the other person said or did sometimes continue to spontaneously pop into our heads and hearts. Or, we recall a feeling we had at the time which then comes back and even sticks with us for a while. Or, it may be that we share our narrative of the situation, as we experienced it, with friends or family, keeping the story and the emotions alive. In any case, a sort of inventory seems to unfold that either helps us reconcile what occurred, or it may perpetuate an ongoing cycle of blame, recrimination, hurt, retaliation, confusion, and so on.

One conflict masterful way to take stock is to consider what we learned and calculate how far we have moved forward and away from the energy field that initiated and exacerbated the conflict in the first place. Another way involves taking a close look at the bruises that remain and consider why they are not fading. This may lead to a discussion with the other person or to some soul-searching that helps us process the interaction and gain some insights about the perceptions and the assumptions we exchanged. Hopefully, in the end, we are able to identify what we learned that we will apply to the next dispute. These and other possible choices about ways to take stock are ones for readers to contemplate here.

  • What does your inventory consist of about a specific conflict that you are now taking stock of?
  • Which of your reactions and thoughts do you continue to process?
  • Which of your beliefs and/or values surface now as you consider your reactions to the other person at the time of the conflict?
  • Which of the other person’s beliefs and/or values surfaced during the conflict that you didn’t know about?
  • What else did you learn about her or him? What do you think the other person learned about you?
  • What did you learn from that conflict that is most meaningful?
  • How have you applied that learning so far, if you have?
  • If you have not yet had a chance to apply the learning, how do you intend to do so? If you have not applied the learning yet – though there was a chance to do so – why is that the case?
  • What specifically do you wish you had known about the other person or the situation at the time of the conflict?
  • Having done some stock-taking here, what is different for you – in your thoughts and feelings?

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

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