Posts Tagged ‘health’

WHAT TO DO WHEN CONFLICT RESOLUTION FAILS

Wouldn’t life be wonderful if every time we disagreed with someone we could find a perfect solution that would satisfy each party and put the issue to rest once and for all? So often when a conflict arises, we spend an enormous amount of time and energy debating it, trying to prove our position, pointing out to the other person how and why their stance is wrong, and trying earnestly to convince them to see things and do things our way. In the event that we are unsuccessful, we may resort to simply imposing our way on them by demanding that things be done our way, or threatening that if we don’t get what we’re seeking there will be serious consequences for their non-compliance. If they refuse to conform and we are left without the resolution we were seeking, it’s easy to become engulfed in fear (that we will not be ok with our current set of circumstances), anger (that we did not get what we were seeking), bitterness (that their way prevailed over ours), and resentment (that we are being forced to accept something we are not happy with). Any and all of these emotions will poison our lives and prohibit us from experiencing happiness and success. Additionally, if suppressed or prolonged, they can impact our physical health, our emotional well-being, and our relationships. But even the most skilled debaters sometimes find themselves in a situation where there is simply no meeting of the minds. What can one do under these circumstances?

Conflict is simply the presence of a disagreement. It is actually a normal and healthy part of every relationship. On so many levels it adds depth and challenges that encourage personal and relationship growth. It only becomes problematic when hostility is introduced and stubbornness prevails. In the event one finds themselves in a stalemate, there is still a viable solution. And that is to resolve the conflict within yourself.

Real conflict is internal. It is fueled by the need to gain control over another person or situation; to force our beliefs and ways on others; to impose our authority on the other person; to maintain our appearance in the presence of our peers; to create a sense of superiority over others; to “win” or emerge victorious. Actual resolution has little to do with the specific matter in dispute and more with the need to satisfy one’s ego. Ego always needs to feel important, superior, and to establish dominance over the other. Ego is fueled by fear, the need to protect one’s self from a perceived harm or injustice. Let go of the fear, knowing you will be fine regardless of the outcome, and one can easily compromise or fully acquiesce without anxiety, anger or resentment.

It is critically important to ask yourself, “Why is this situation a problem for me? What within me needs to be resolved or healed in order for this not to bother me? How can I find a way to live comfortably with my new set of circumstances?” These are critical questions that will give you greater insight into yourself, your attitude, issues, and beliefs. Once identified and healed, the situation at hand is no longer a problem and can either be easily rectified or allowed to remain as is.

Ultimately the only way to fully resolve any conflict, especially those in which a situation remains status quo or devolves into something less than what we hoped for, is to find peace with it within ourselves. We can do this by realizing that in life, not everything progresses the way we had desired nor should it. To receive everything we expect out of life is akin to fulfilling a young child’s every whim. They do not learn how to accept that which they cannot or should not change, thus missing out on a critical life lesson of acceptance. They also fail to learn how to compromise or acquiesce to another so that the other party may feel satisfied. In doing so, one moves beyond selfishness to a place of generosity and concern for the other person. From a practical as well as spiritual perspective, this allows for enormous personal and spiritual growth and pride in one’s self. One also has the opportunity to learn resiliency and how to bounce back from any disappointment.

It is also critical to find the value in the experience, find something positive that can enrich your life. Wanting to splurge on an expensive vacation to Paris but consenting to my husband’s wish to visit his parents in Nevada for vacation can prove to be a worthwhile experience for me. Spending time with the in-laws gives them the opportunity to spend time with a son they love. It also affords me the opportunity to show them that I truly care about them and my husband and can ultimately strengthen our relationship as well as that with my spouse. And experiencing the beauty of Nevada can be an educational and glorious adventure. Where there is value there is no room for hostility.

Building the confidence that emerges from facing life’s unknowns is another benefit of unresolved conflicts. One discovers that regardless of what life hands you, you are fully qualified to not only survive your new found circumstances but to thrive and grow in them as well. Making the necessary accommodations enables one to challenge themselves to learn (acceptance and appreciation for what they had but no longer have or for what still remains or for what is new and potentially beneficial), as well as developing creative ways to so. Not having what they had hoped for also provides an opportunity to put everything into perspective. That which we thought to be so critically important sometimes is seen as less valuable when it is no longer an option for us.

Patience and determination are other valuable lessons we are being afforded when a dispute does not resolve as we had hoped. Perhaps this is not the right time for a resolution and we need to wait a bit longer before our circumstances change; maybe we are meant to try a new approach or to continue along the same path with greater focus and energy. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of time and perseverance that ultimately brings about the preferred results. One who does not receive a much needed and desired promotion at work can vow to use this as motivation to work harder, to stand out among their coworkers and get noticed by those in charge, or perhaps to branch out in another direction or even seek a new career.

Again, once an experience proves to be advantageous to you, it is difficult to remain at odds with the other party or to continue to argue over the situation. Letting things just be what they are or need to be at that moment is incredibly freeing. One need not expend precious time and energy on that which has relatively little value and can redirect those resources to that which has greater enjoyment and reward. Therefore, put forth a good effort in trying to resolve those conflicts that are truly significant and command a solution. For those of lesser value, simply allow them to remain as they are. Then work at addressing your internal distress, finding the necessary solutions that will ultimately afford you the inner peace and stillness you so deserve. Problem solved.

Q “The ability to accept those things that we cannot or should not change allows us to live in peaceful harmony with ourselves and the world.”

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5 QUALITIES OF NON VIOLENT FIGHTING

When individuals disagree on a subject matter, whether it’s politics, religion, home projects, budgeting issues or such, very often the discussion escalates into a full-blown fight. Tensions rise as each side tries to convince the other that their beliefs or ways of doing something are more valid that the others, that they are right on their position. In my conflict resolution training program, I stress the importance of refraining from using the terms right or wrong. To do so indicates an insecurity that needs strengthening by proving oneself superior over another. The vast majority of issues we disagree on are not matters of right or wrong: they are simply issues of perception, preference, or opinion. Only issues of morality or fact can be deemed accurate or false. To recommend that people refrain from debating certain topics that they disagree on is unnecessary. Debates can be beneficial on so many levels such as enabling both sides to learn something new, to entertain the possibility that there is some validity to what the other is saying, to hone their communication and listening strategies, as well as learning tolerance and acceptance.

So how can two people strongly disagree on a topic and discuss it without having it escalate into verbal violence or aggression? There are five key strategies one must employ.

Confidence: When an individual feels strongly that their beliefs, ideas, feelings or ways of living life are valid, they are able to submit compelling facts to support their side. They are strong and secure in their position and comfortable with what they are presenting to support their side. Confidence does not feel threatened by those who disagree as they feel that no matter how strongly the other party feels about their position, a poised person can hold their ground and not acquiesce to their ways. Confidence, a belief in one’s abilities, enables the person to listen open-mindedly without fear of how the other might react or respond to them, nor what opinion the other person may form about them. Good, bad, or indifferent, confidence says, “I’m fine with whatever the outcome of our conversation is.”

They are also interested in sharing their thoughts without the need to convert the other party to their ways nor show them the error of theirs. There is no competition; only shared dialogue.

Those who are insecure or uncertain present a weak perspective easily crushed by the other side. In this instance, they feel at a disadvantage and may easily resort to yelling, raging, insults, criticisms, threats, demeaning comments and so on in order to intimidate the other party to back off, thus giving the illusion that they won. However, one who is secure in their beliefs creates a win-win situation for all, allowing the other side to maintain their dignity and beliefs as well.

Assertive: One who is assertive is gifted with a strong sense of self, a belief that they are capable of handling themselves well in any given situation. Regardless of the nature of the disagreement, an assertive person cares deeply about the well-being of their opponent with no interest in degrading them by proving them to be error. Differences are viewed as assets rather than obstacles and a lively debate is welcomed. Comfortable with taking the initiative, they are highly focused on finding common ground with the other party and are adept at directing the conversation on a positive course. If one party veers off on a tangent, they can readily bring them back into focus. If the other party becomes irate or hostile, they are well-equipped to set some boundaries and diffuse the incident. Assertives have a quiet air of inner strength and confidence about them; they neither rant nor yell nor threaten nor belittle. Their tone of voice is steady, strong and clear. They are leaders with viable skills and concern that keep a potentially volatile situation calm and productive.

Respectful: Respect is a treatment that we all seek yet few actually know the meaning of the word. To respect means to value. All human beings want to be treated with dignity and respect, as though they matter. Reverence does not have to be earned – it is a God-given right of every person ever born into this world. Yet some seem to believe that they have the authority to designate who has greater worth than another. If this is the mindset of one who engages in an oppositional discussion then there is sure to be frustration, anger, and hostility from the other side. It is critical to view the other person as worthy as yourself, to begin the discussion on an equal playing field so that no one feels greater or less than the other. This simple message, that you matter as much as I do, enables the other party to lower their defenses and trust you in the sense that you have their best interest at heart as you do your own. Even though I may vehemently disagree with your position, even though I may not understand it, a respectful individual recognizes that their beliefs are equally as valid to them as mine are to me. Being polite in that one simple regard dictates the nature and course of the conversation and keeps it on a positive and constructive note.

Fair-minded: One of humanities basic needs is to be treated fairly. This involves providing sufficient time for the other person to present their side; to listen without criticizing or interrupting; to refrain from making fun of or trying to disprove their points. Finding some valid points sends the message that you recognize the legitimacy of what they are saying even if you do not agree with it. Being fair means commenting on the issues, not criticizing the person (attack the issues not the individual).

If the discussion is one what needs a resolution, a fair-minded person will seek some sort of compromise. Their desire to make certain the other party is satisfied with the outcome is critically important to them. They will typically reassure them by making certain their needs are being met first and/or giving them more than they are expecting or entitled to. They fully embrace the belief that it is better to give than to receive and that it is in giving that we receive the most.

Solution-oriented: Not every disagreement will be resolved nor are they meant to be. Sometimes a debate is simply a sharing of ideas, beliefs, feelings or position. You will never convince a Republican to join the Democratic party or vice versa. Nor should we. It is in our differences that we find growth and expansion.

However, in those situations where an agreement is imperative, it is key to begin the conversation with the end goal in mind. What are we seeking to accomplish? What absolutely needs to take place in order for this issue to be put to rest at the satisfaction of both parties? Having a clear goal enables one to lay out a straightforward plan of action to achieve those goals. They are not sidetracked by superfluous facts or opinions, they avoid blame and finger-pointed, and they stay focused on finding a solution. They listen to all sides and take into consideration all perspectives and suggestions in addition to keeping the process short and sweet.

It’s critically important to enter into any discussion with a positive and open mind. Seek to listen, to learn, to understand, and to care about. If you find yourself becoming frustrated, take a moment and practice the SWaT Strategy: STOP the conversation, WALK away to emotionally disconnect, and TALK yourself calm. When you have regained your composure, return with the intent to have a successful and productive conversation. Utilize the 5 Qualities – confidence, assertive, respectful, fair-minded, and solution-oriented – and you fill discover a simple path to having a non-violent fight.

Ephesians 4:2 “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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WHY YOU NEED TO CHANGE

People become defensive at the thought of someone telling them or implying that they must change. “I am who I am; take it or leave it” is often the response. “I’m not changing for anyone. Except me for who I am or don’t be in my life.” While many view these comments as signs of self-confidence – that one does not rely on the approval of others to determine their worth or that they are perfectly content with themselves exactly as they are – in truth this attitude is typically a cover-up for fear. “If I change then I am admitting there is something wrong with me. If I change, then others are controlling who I am and/or dictating who I become.” Neither option is appealing but rather quite disturbing. To admit one’s flaws can further damage one’s compromised sense of self. Giving in to the demands of others relinquishes one’s free will (freedom of choice) to another. Yet if we examine the need to change who we are in greater detail, we’ll see that neither need be the case.

First, let me state that we all need to change. Just as we periodically change our clothing when it no longer fits or becomes frayed or soiled, we also need to occasionally amend such things as our belief systems, methods of performing certain tasks, our ways of thinking or how we experience the world. Yet change without confidence in self is extremely difficult. One would not embark on a new career if they did not feel secure that they were qualified to do their new job well and/or that the switch would ultimately be beneficial to them. One must believe undeniably in their own abilities and fortitude before comfortably engaging in any life adjustments.

Secondly, it is important to note that before making any alterations in one’s self, one must fully know who they are. You are God’s sacred child, an expression of His Love manifest in physical form. The very nature of who you are is love: kindness, compassion, courage, forgiveness, justice, generosity, and so on. This is the you that you need to know intimately. Understand, too, that one is unable to change their intrinsic self. Like the color of your eyes, who you are is preordained by the Almighty and will remain intact for the duration of your existence. And it need not change for it is perfection in (human) form.

Thirdly, like your clothing or hairstyle, what needs to change from time to time are your attitudes and actions – the way you think and behave. Keep in mind that both of these are learned and serve a purpose in the moment. Keep in mind, too, that negative attitudes and like actions lead to difficulties in life. When we entertain positive thoughts they are followed by positive behaves as well and we reap the rewards of our choices.

Those attitudes and actions that need modification (or elimination) are those that do not support one’s authentic self. When we don’t outwardly express our true nature we create internal conflict for ourselves (“I’m a nice guy but I sometimes treat others poorly.”) We deceive ourselves by not acknowledging that our actions do not accurately reflect the goodness of who we are. There are times, too, when we recognize the contradiction but feel powerless over it. “Why am I hesitant to speak up? I’m not afraid of what others may think of me.” This leads to internal discontent and stress.

Our incongruent actions also cause confusion for those we are interacting with. They cannot fully know who we are if in fact we are acting out in a contradictory manner (being hurtful, sarcastic, lazy, mean-spirited, etc.) when they have already witnessed the goodness within us. This makes them question our trustworthiness, not knowing when we will contradict our nature with opposite behaviors. Lack of trust weakens the very foundation of any relationship and impedes its ability to grow and survive. If I am an intelligent person but I make ignorant choices, or give little regard to the decisions I make, then others begin to doubt my judgment, and my reputation as well as my relationship with them suffers.

Fourthly, the willingness to change means one is accepting enough of themselves to realize they need improvement in certain aspects of their life; that they are not fully comfortable of the way they are living; that they are a proverbial work in progress and are continually seeking to grow and improve. Like a worker who takes continuing education classes to always be up on the latest changes in their field so that they can be the best employee on the job, so is this same approach necessary to succeed in life. Someone once said, “Be content with what you have but never be content with who you are.”
In truth, we are continually modifying our behaviors in many different circumstances. A casual dresser wears formal attire to the wedding of a best friend as requested by the bride and groom; one who is shy takes command of the stage when performing; one who readily speaks their mind remains silent in order to protect someone’s feelings. We do this subconsciously without hesitation. Therefore the real issue is not so much a resistance to change but rather when it appears at the request or demand of another.

Fifthly, changing for others can be an indication of concern for their well-being. We speak to adults in one particular way yet if we encounter someone with a hearing impairment or a learning disability, we adjust how we interact with them by making certain that we speak in a way they can relate to. If my husband requests that I take my shoes off before entering the house so that I don’t track pollen in on my shoes that could cause him respiratory distress, as a loving wife I would gladly accommodate him. He is not asking that I change who I am but rather that I modify my actions in order to make life more comfortable for him. And if I asked him to be a little more quiet around the house from time to time rather than always expressing the boisterous person he is, I would hope that his love for me is great enough to do so. Call it love or concern or consideration or respect: life is a series of interactions with others and the more thoughtfulness we extend to others the easier our relationships, and ultimately our lives, will be. Of course, all of these requests and adjustments must be fair and reasonable.

Resistance to change causes the same rigidity that can make a stiff tree snap in a strong wind. Those that are willing to bend to accommodate the wind remain intact. Humans who adopt an attitude that they will not change for anyone are fearful of relinquishing who they are for the satisfaction of another. Resistance to change in general can be an indication of one who lives in denial of their unhealthy attitudes, actions, lifestyles, relationships and so on. Low self esteem prevents them from recognizing their imperfections and lack of courage or self-love prevents them from making the necessary improvements.

Even though we deny it, we all expect others to change for us in some way, shape or form. Spouses must be willing to accommodate their partner’s needs; family members must take into consideration what matters to other members and make the necessary adjustments (such as in meal preparations); coworkers need to modify the way they speak with and interact with others on the job to be more professional, and so on. The willingness to put another’s preferences above our own when necessary is thoughtful, courageous, respectful, and unselfish. Those are the very characteristics that we all seek in friendships, intimate relationships, and those we work with and interact with socially. Therefore we must be willing to extend those courteousies to others first.

Again, I am not suggesting one changes who they are intrinsically for in that regard we are all perfect. I am recommending that changing one’s attitudes and actions are not only necessary but vital to one’s success in life. Remember, too, that authentic change must be voluntary. Forced change is coercion or compliance and will never be lasting nor create a healthy, happy life.

Never settle for being the way you act; always seeking to learn, to grow, and to improve so that you may have the life God created you to have. When your outward attitudes and actions align with your intrinsic nature you will find inner peace and contentment.

“A bad attitude is like a flat tire: if you don’t change it you won’t get very far in life.”

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
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