When we allow people to vent their feelings and bare their frustrations, we might feel that the conflict is just getting worse. Often we can benefit by staying with the conflict a little while longer. Reversing an old saying, we could be witnessing the storm before the calm.
Once people express and release their anger and fear, they might see how much they really care for each other and want a mutually beneficial solution. We can share our opinions without becoming married to them. If we adopt a firm opinion and invest our well-being in it, then we’ve gone beyond merely holding a point of view.
Most human beings want similar things—happiness, health, love, and freedom from financial worry, to name a few. Even when we differ in our ways to get what we want, we can remind ourselves of our common desires. Below are some suggestions to how to find common ground:
- Remember that your peace of mind is yours. No one disturbs it unless you give away your power to them.
- Keep in mind that your goal is to have harmony in your relationships.
- Before speaking, ask yourself, “How would I perceive this communication?”
- Evaluate your intentions. Are you communicating to connect or to injure?
- Would you rather be right or happy? Be willing to let go of your need to be right.
- Reevaluate your expectations of others. When you stop trying to change others, you can be more open and loving.
- Affirm to yourself daily that you deserve love and happiness in your life. Don’t settle for the crumbs when you want the cake.
- Respectfully ask for time to sit down to negotiate the problem.
- Use this formula to express yourself:
- When I saw/heard (concrete action).
- I felt sad/mad/glad/scared (feeling).
- I would like (concrete action).
- Can we work this out together?
- Focus only on one incident at a time.
- If you are explosive or reactive, breathe and get yourself together before you talk to your partner. If you are tearful or afraid, write down the point you want to cover.
- Do not use leaving the relationship as a threat unless you intend to follow through.
- Apologize for your part in the situation. Most conflicts have two injured parties.
- Assure your partner that you want to solve the problem and stay in the relationship.
- Agree to take time-outs to keep the emotional tension at a manageable level while maintaining focus on the problem.
- Tell your partner that you will agree to disagree and accept that your partner is different from you in many ways.
- Tell your partner the areas you agree on and focus on the common desire to have a harmonious relationship.
Couple photo available from Shutterstock