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


When it comes to how we engage in interpersonal conflict – how we react to people who hurt us and how we defend ourselves – are like other habits that we come to repeat without thought. That is, our responses are often rote behaviours – patterns – that reflect what we have learned about how to cope with certain situations. Conflict habits have to do with, among other things, how we manage and regulate our emotions when we are provoked. Habits may show up in how we communicate, and how we defend things that are important to us. Some work for us and others do not.

Generally, we do not recognize habits as things we can change. We learned them over time and they have come to feel a part of who we are. However, we have the ability to unlearn our habits and replace them with ones that better serve us and those around us. As with other habits – we realize as such and want to change – the starting point is to acknowledge the one or ones that are counterproductive and focus on how we prefer to be. Here are some questions in this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog to help focus on habits and the related intentions when in conflict.

  • What habits do you have about the ways you manage conflict that you would like to change?
  • Choosing one of these, how do you describe this habit in more detail? How did you develop this habit as far as you can recall?
  • How has this habit served you over time? How has it not served you?
  • How do you want to be and be seen with respect to this habit that is different from how you are now?
  • When you make the change, to be the way you describe, what do you hope will be different for you?
  • How will the change impact other people with whom you are in conflict?
  • How badly do you want to change this habit on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being ‘very much’?
  • What is or are the downside(s) of making the change or changes you describe?
    What may be keeping you from beginning to make the change(s) if you want to do so? How come?
  • What is one step you can take immediately to make the change you want regarding this habit?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?


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