art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time


First and foremost, I hope this finds you and yours well and healthy.

These are such stressful times as we isolate due to virus! We are without the usual external resources, the variety, the accomplishments, the camaraderie that help us get through our daily lives as usual. Change of routine is hard at the best of times. Uncertainty –  the unknown – might give us nightmares and increase our fears of all sorts – unsettling our balance and distracting us with worry. Missing the direct company of friends, family and work and play  associates, without hugs from family and friends, without knowing when life will gain some sort of normalcy – even the new normal but at least,  a state of knowing what that is going to happen and when – these and other stresses, too, have an impact on our lives as we know them right now. And that also means our ability to handle interpersonal conflict within our closed quarters might be compromised along with everything else that normally maintains our equilibrium.

I hear from some of my conflict coaching clients how time on their hands and the stresses they feel are leading to more disputes within their households. If the relationships within the family or couple unit already have some challenges, stress is often heightened.  There may be a tendency to resort to behaviours that don’t serve us well, to take our frustrations out on others, to act in ways that are unproductive and even destructive to our well-being and those around us.

Though we have the ability to choose one thought over the other, as the quote here states, that isn’t easy at times like these. The questions for this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invite you to take a conflict situation happening for you now, if there is one, in which your negative thoughts are prevalent. See if the following questions are of help – perhaps, to shift your thoughts to ones that are more constructive.

How would you describe the stress you are experiencing right now as a consequence of the news about the pandemic and isolation?

What sorts of thoughts dominate your thinking these days?

What is the interpersonal conflict about that is going on within your household, or with someone else outside of your household?

What are you thinking about the other person in this conflict? What are you attributing to them (what characteristics and assumptions are you making about them, for instance)?

Which of your thoughts do you know are true about the person?

Which of your thoughts are ones that might be due to the stress you are experiencing about the pandemic news, isolation etc. or heightened as a consequence? What of their behaviours might reflect what they are experiencing about the state of things right now?

What are you thinking about yourself in this conflict? What do you want to be thinking about yourself in this conflict?

What might the other person be thinking about you? What might they be attributing to you (what characteristics and assumptions might they be making about you, for instance)?

If you were to shift your thinking to more positive thoughts about the other person, what might they be (such as characteristics that you know about the other person when things are going well, thoughts that you might use to replace the ones you have built up but are not necessarily true, etc.)?

Knowing you are  ‘at choice’ about what are you thinking about yourself too, which thoughts will you choose to think about yourself – ones that reflect your inner strength and goodness and those characteristics you can usually count on to reduce your stress – to help improve the dynamic between you and the other person?

What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?

What insights do you have?


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