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Questions About Being in Conflict That Have No Right To Go Away

In his wonderful poem “Sometimes” (from Everything is Waiting for You, 2007, Many Rivers Press), David Whyte refers to questions that “have no right to go away”. I really like that statement and it touched a chord in me. So, considering my fascination with the art of inquiry I thought about using Whyte’s phrase as the title and premise of this week’s blog.

It seems that when we are in interpersonal conflict we ask ourselves many things about what is going on between the other person and us at various levels of our consciousness. These may be about what we are experiencing, what we are assuming, what we are worrying about, what we are feeling, what we want, what the other person is thinking about us, and so on. Questions may also be about what consequences we are willing to risk to achieve our desired outcome, and whether things will mend or continue to impact the relationship.

Questions such as those just referred to and many others commonly arise within us at times of conflict. Some come to us too, from our friends and family with whom we share what is happening. Many questions – from wherever they may emanate – we do not want to think about and others we want to explore. And there are some that have no right to go away.

This blog suggests that to be in conflict in a way that aligns with our values necessitates self-inquiry that, among other things, helps us examine the questions – the unknowns – that niggle at us and crave our attention. By looking back on a specific conflict your reflections about it may facilitate such a process with the following suggested questions – some of which may have no right to go away.

  • What was really important to you about that dispute that made it worth fighting for? Why is that?
  • In what ways did you contribute to the discord?
  • What would you do differently if you had it to do over again?
  • What do you believe is true about the other person that you are not acknowledging?
  • About what are you not being absolutely honest regarding what occurred in that situation?
  • What did you want to have happen that did not?
  • What did you need from the other person that she or he did not deliver on? What did the other person need from you that you did not deliver on?
  • What do you not know about the other person that may have been helpful to the outcome? What does the other person not know about you that may have been helpful to the outcome?
  • What questions are you not asking yourself about the dispute?
  • What questions here or other ones regarding the conflict have no right to go away?

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

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