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Being Okay With Our Reaction to Conflict

When we are in a conflict with another person, we experience a range of emotions and in varying degrees of intensity. Our reactions reflect a number of things, including how important the issue is, what we are feeling about what is said or done, how what is said or done is an affront to our needs and interests, who we are offended by, and even when and how the conflict is raised.

The rise in our emotions when someone says or does something that adversely affects us is an internal and external indicator that our tolerance is being threatened and that those words or actions are unacceptable for us.

These are meaningful signs. It is normal and okay to react when we feel offended. Denying our experience or avoiding the situation does not serve us or the relationship well. Rather, identifying and discussing what is going on for us, including the impact, is more likely to provide us with the opportunity to resolve matters. That is, by raising issues that are bothering us, including the assumptions we might be making, we are taking responsibility for ourselves and not letting things become suppressed.  The reality is if we don’t face these sorts of dynamics, they inevitably show up again as unresolved issues and feelings. The intensity often grows when this occurs and our equilibrium remains upset.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a situation about which you are internally reacting – to see if the following questions help process your reaction.

  • What is the situation?
  • What specifically are you reacting to?
  • What makes that (your answer to the previous question) upsetting for you?
  • How do you describe your reaction?
  • What else may someone add to your description (if anything) if they observed you at these times?
  • What is okay about your reaction? Why?
  • What does it (your reaction) tell you about what is very important to you?
  • What is not okay about your reaction? Why not?
  • How is your reaction consistent with your internal and external responses when you are provoked by others? How is it different? What is the difference about?
  • What lessons are there to learn from your reactions? How will you take those lessons forward to the next time you are in conflict with the same or another person?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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