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Looking Back

It’s not the first time this blog has written about a common reaction to being in conflict – looking behind us at what happened or didn’t happen, wishing we had said or done something differently, continually blaming ourselves or the other person for things we cannot take back and so on. There are so many reasons for this.

Guilt, shame, hurt, anger, recrimination, unreconciled feelings, unfinished and unresolved issues – are just a few reasons that can get in the way of moving forward. Indeed, these and other lingering experiences of the dissension keep us in the fray and in our unresolved feelings.

The challenge that results from looking back is, of course, we can neither change nor undo what happened – what we said or did – nor, can we change what the other person said or did. Nor, can the other person change their part in the dispute and their experience. It’s often very hard to accept this and for many there remains some ongoing hope that by looking back –revisiting the dispute – there will be a way that we can change what happened and the outcome.

Going forward might mean being able to forgive ourselves for what we wished we’d said or done differently and not looking back as though we can change things. Going forward – it is also a good idea to consider what we gained from the unresolved and unreconciled dispute – to learn from what occurred or didn’t occur and consider ways to manage ourselves and the conflict dynamic if the same sort of situation erupts in the future.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a conflict about which you are looking back.

  • What happened? What are you looking back at?
  • What’s compelling you to look back?
  • What are you seeing back there?
  • What is it you are wanting to gain from looking back that you don’t have?
  • What do you think you can change about what occurred? How?
  • What would you like the other person to know that you think they don’t?
  • What do you want to know that the other person might be able to tell you?
  • What question did you not ask the other person? Or would you like to ask them now?
  • What answers do you want to hear (in response to the above questions)?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?


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