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Stopping Ourselves in Conflict

It sometimes feels as though we cannot stop our reactions when someone provokes us and we are offended by what they said or did. We have a knee-jerk reaction and what comes out of our mouths are words and tones of voice we later regret. We don’t seem to realize we could have chosen another option. And, generally-speaking, we do not acknowledge that we are at choice when we are in conflict and whether we make the situation fractious by our words and actions.

Essentially then, the notion that we lose control and cannot stop our emotions from escalating when we become provoked, offended or hurt, is not necessarily true. Most of us have the ability to control ourselves and regulate our emotional outbursts. How? It’s not easy if our habitual ways of reacting take over! One way is to pay attention to our thoughts and where we are feeling our emotional reactions, and to take a time out to process these things, as to not lose the opportunity to manage both.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog asks you to consider a situation in which you didn’t stop yourself from saying things that hurt the other person and that you regretted.

  • What was the situation? What did you say that you regret (regretted)?
  • What was the other person’s reaction at the time? To what specifically were they reacting?
  • How did you feel afterwards?
  • What other choices did you have than saying what you regret (regretted)?
  • What got in your way of choosing one of those (considering your answers to the previous question)?
  • What could you have controlled?
  • What are the lingering thoughts you have about the situation?
  • What emotions are still lingering?
  • When faced with other triggering interactions in the future, what course of action might you take to stop yourself from reacting?
  • What help do you want to learn how to stop yourself and make choices that better serve you and the other person?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?


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