art work by John Ceprano
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Losing Face

Among the fears that some of us have about interpersonal conflict is the loss of something important to us. It may be a fear we will lose what we are fighting for. It may be we fear losing the relationship. We may fear the loss of our position or status. Another loss some of us have when we are in conflict, or when we expect one may evolve, has to do with losing face and experiencing related emotions such as humiliation.

According to one source, the idiom – loss of face – refers to “loss of respect of others, humiliation, public disgrace” and apparently began as a translation of the Chinese phrase  ‘tiu lien’. That phrase may also be expressed in English as ‘to suffer public disgrace’, as to be unable to show one’s face in public.

To further explore this aspect of conflict when responding to the following set of ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions), consider a situation in which you feel you lost face:

  • What does the expression losing face mean to you?
  • In what ways do you think you lost face in the situation you have in mind?
  • What do you look like without face?
  • What did the other person specifically say or do that led to that occurring?
  • What did it feel like to lose face? What thoughts occurred to you at this time?
  • What other words or expression explain what you experienced?
  • How may you or did you gain back face, if you did?
  • What positive things came from losing face?
  • In what ways could you have prevented losing face?
  • What do you think generally contributes to you losing face in conflict? What helps to get it back?

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

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