Posts Tagged ‘resolvingconflict’

ANGRY? GET OVER IT!

Today my husband and I had our fifth fight. Not bad for a twenty year marriage but regardless, for an anger management professional such as myself, I didn’t handle it very well. Actually, fight is not an accurate description as it was more like a huff, that is we got annoyed at each other. Let me explain: I asked Mac to show me how to use the power washer so that I could prep the tool shed to be painted. I had mentioned several times that this was a priority chore for me this year. The day prior, I told him that I wanted to get started this weekend. So this morning, I requested that he show me how to use the machine to which he become annoyed. “It hasn’t been used in three years,” he snapped. “I don’t even know if it works!” I made a critical mistake by taking personal offense to the way he spoke to me and responded with my own anger. “You and I are never on the same page! I try to do as much heavy work around here to make it easier on you. And you can’t even make sure the tools I need are working properly. I’m done!” I stated emphatically. “You can do it yourself!” With that, I turned and walked out of the room. He got in his car and drove off in a bad mood.

Mac in no way deserved to be on the receiving end of my ire. For certain, an apology was in order. I’ve never been one to hold a grudge so I can let go of my own anger quickly. But I also needed to do some immediate damage control as well. While he was gone, I reassessed the situation. What was really going on? Both of us are under constant pressure from our jobs, taking care of our home, dogs, and family. Stress lessens one’s ability to be patient and rational. Relatively insignificant issues can be blown out of proportion and simple requests can be seen as being demanding, threatening, offensive, or irrational. Under less stressful conditions, neither of us would have responded with such disrespect towards each other. Having said that, we both feel added pressure on the weekends to accomplish an abnormal number of chores, denying ourselves any respite from our demanding workday responsibilities.

Anger is the outward expression of either hurt, fear, or frustration (the three root causes). For certain, I was feeling frustrated. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on my “to do” list and I feel as though I (and my husband) keep falling further and further behind. Secondly, I allowed myself to be hurt by his (mildly) rude behavior which in truth had absolutely nothing at all to do with me. I fully understand that he was merely expressing his frustration as well. Upon closer examination, there were also elements of fear that surfaced. I’m concerned (a mild form of fear) that we will not have all of the larger tasks completed on our home once we are ready to sell it.

So how did I get over my anger? By considering the following 10 questions:

1. Did this situation warrant my anger or was I over reacting? In this case, I completely over reacted. This issue was relatively minor and I was reacting to my own frustration rather than my husband’s response.
2. Was I being fair and reasonable to my husband? Absolutely not! It was highly insensitive of me to think that he should immediately take action on my request. Initially I thought I had given him enough forewarning but in retrospect I realized that based on his personality, I had not.
3. Were my expectations of him, his needs, and his reaction realistic? Again, absolutely no. I know him well enough to know that he needs time to process and plan anything I request of him. He has his own day scheduled and when I interfere with that he feels pressured and minimized (that my needs take precedent over his).
4. Was the intensity and duration of my anger justified for this specific incident? Intensity? No. Duration? I’ll give myself a pass on that since it literally lasted less than five minutes. But again, the issue at hand was not a matter of great urgency as proven by the fact that I had plenty of other work to occupy my time. And I will eventually get the shed taken care of.
5. Did I fail to see his perspective and consider it equally as valid as my own? In the heat of the moment, yes, I failed to recognize where he was coming from and respect his position as much as my own.
6. What needs of mine were not being met? (Unmet needs will trigger anger.) I needed his help and reassurance that he would take care of his responsibility in a reasonable period of time (which at that moment, for me, was immediately).My fear was that I was being blown off and what I wanted to do was not important to him and would be put at the bottom of his “to do” list, thereby possibly never getting done.
7. What needs of his did I fail to provide? He definitely needs his space on the weekend to take care of his personal errands and chores without interference or pressure from me. He also needs to be asked questions (“Is there a chance we could get to this today?”) rather than demanded (“I need you to get the power washer working now.”), regardless of how polite I think I am being.
8. How can each of our needs be fulfilled? What is my role in doing so? I need to be more sensitive to what matters to him. By giving him enough notice and asking if he is able to assist me (I tend to take it for granted since he’s so talented), I can alleviate putting any unnecessary pressure on him. I can also reach out to others for assistance when necessary or for instructions so that I may rely more on my own abilities. If possible, there is always the option of hiring someone to do what we don’t have time to do on our own.
9. If changes are not immediately forthcoming, can I accept that the situation will remain status quo for now? Can I find some sort of internal resolution with my circumstances? Of course. I am actually quite good at doing so and have in many situations before. If the situation is temporary, I can call upon my patience to get me through while keeping myself occupied with other important projects.
10. If the situation is permanent, can I find internal resolution as well? Absolutely! Much in my life has not complied with my preferences and I have been perfectly fine. Understanding that life is not always meant to follow my dictates and that there are important lessons to be learned in such circumstances enables me to grow on many levels, put the event into its proper perspective, and ultimately be at peace with my current situation.

While it may seem that this technique took a significant amount of time to process and resolve, in truth it took a matter of minutes for me to re examine what transpired and let go of being angry. I felt a sense of remorse for the way I treated my husband and immediately reached out to offer him the apology he rightfully deserved. For him, an expression of remorse enables him to more easily heal his own anger, forgive me, and allow us to move back into a place of being happy and loving towards one another. It was well worth the investment of a little time and effort.

Note: for those of you who are questioning, “What about his role in all of this?”, my response is this: it’s none of my business. I need only concern myself with my own issues and actions. That is where my personal power lies and where true change occurs. What he does is irrelevant. All that really matters is how I handle myself.

“Unresolved anger leads to bitterness, resentment, self-pity and misery. Letting it go invites joy and peace to enter your heart again.”

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TEN TIPS TO DIFFUSE A VOLATILE SITUATION

We are living in a very volatile and dangerous age. Not only have issues of domestic violence, child and animal abuse, anger in the workplace and so on been more apparent, but we are definitely witnessing a rise of violence within our communities. Gangs and individual assaults seem to be taking a back seat to protests by militant groups claiming to seek justice but who in actuality are promoting and engaging in acts of violence themselves. What could be a peaceful gathering intent on seeking a reasonable solution to a problem escalates to one of violence and often bloodshed. Angry and passionate individuals determined to right an injustice only create further mayhem by advocating and engaging in the very acts they condemn.
But is it possible for large masses of angry individuals to successfully , reasonable, and peacefully find solutions to perceived issues of extreme injustice? Yes, if both sides follow these ten recommended tips:

1. Approach other party(s) in a non hostile non aggressive way. By taking a non threatening approach the other party feels relatively confident that they are not at risk physically or otherwise and therefore the need for a defensive response is unnecessary.
2. Be open minded and fair in the way you present your grievances. Refrain from using such phrases as “you always”, “we never” “it can’t”. In each case, one assumes a scenario that is not necessarily true, appears extreme and unrealistic, and creates a mindset of preconceived defeat.
3. Be respectful in the way you speak to and treat one another. Passion need not translate into disrespectful or degrading conduct towards the disagreeing party. Always be mindful that the amount of cooperation you receive from the other party is in direct proportion to the amount of respect you afford them. So be generous.
4. Deal with facts, not simply feelings. Too often we rant about how angry or hurt or offended we are. Dealing with facts enables us to more accurately see the true nature of the incident. Adding feelings to the dialogue lends a deeper level of understanding as to how the incident is impacting both sides.
5. Keep everything in the proper perspective. Exaggerating may add an element of drama but is only effective on stage. Deal with the serious issues and leave those of lesser importance for another time.
6. Remove any extraneous issues; stick to the original topic. When discussing a serious issue, refrain from going off on tangents. It’s easy to become distracted by related issues but only takes precious resources away from the primary one.
7. Refrain from any inflammatory or accusatory statements. Quickly diffuse any that may occur. Accusations, blame, assumptions, and exaggerations can all incite. There are those who will deliberately try to provoke the other into losing control. Be aware of the intent and nature of every comment and quickly diffuse anything that can escalate to something more serious. Don’t ever take the bait.
8. Listen objectively with the intent to understand the other person, to gain deeper insight into the nature of the conflict, and to extract any possible solutions or partial solutions offered by the other party.
9. Be willing to compromise, recognizing that each side believes their position is valid and correct.
10. Show appreciation for the time and effort the other side has put forth. A little appreciation goes a long way and can enable both sides to reach a peaceful resolution more efficiently and quickly.

With true concern for the well-being of each other and a sincere desire to resolve the issue peacefully, anyone can find a reasonable solution to any challenge by following the above Ten Tips. It can be challenging but with practice and determination and a sincere regard for justice, one can realize the path to coexisting harmoniously with others. And we certainly are all deserving of that.

Let me reiterate: “The amount of cooperation you receive from the other party is in direct proportion to the amount of respect you afford them.” Be generous.

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

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LAUGH AWAY ANGER

People take life far too seriously. There are important issues in our world such as child abuse, war, poverty, starvation, disease, etc. These are all matters critical for the well-being of humanity. Each one needs to be addressed and resolved quickly in order to protect mankind and eliminate unnecessary suffering. But we give too much credence to incidences of little value and in turn cause ourselves grief and heartache. Add to that the unnecessary anger we experience and it’s no wonder we’re all so miserable.

Elbert Hubbard: “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive.”

Laughter is a powerful tool that possesses many valuable qualities and serves multiple purposes. On a physical level, it strengthens the body’s natural immune system, reduces stress hormones, improves cardiovascular health, reduces pain, relaxes muscles, and much more. On a personal level, it brings people together, boosts moral, alleviates depression and stress, minimizes negative conflict, puts people at ease by reducing tension between them or in a particular situation, and increases our overall enjoyment of life. It also alleviates fear and anxiety, energizes us and makes us feel more alive; it puts us in a more positive optimistic mood, encourages resiliency, and intercepts, minimizes, and even heals anger. On every level, it’s an attribute worth utilizing in all aspects of our lives.

Dr. Bernie Siegel: “The simple truth is that happy people generally don’t get sick.”

But how do you use laughter to thwart anger? First and foremost, it’s critical to train ourselves to not take things so seriously. If someone comments that your homemade cupcakes are dry, rather than take personal offense, which leads to hurt feelings and anger, one can choose to respond with humor. “It’s my secret ingredient – sand.” Everyone can have a good laugh rather than becoming angry, putting people on the defensive, or escalating a simple comment into an argument.
Taking the proper steps necessary to be physically healthy, such as exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep, etc. is critical to warding off disease. So is developing a “laughable lifestyle” necessary to protect us against the perils of anger. Here are some suggestions.

The Laughable Lifestyle:
Look for humor in every situation. ~ Associate with funny, playful people including children.
Watch funny videos, TV shows, movies. ~ Go to a comedy club.
Read the comics in the newspaper. ~ Learn some good jokes and tell them to your family, friends, and coworkers.
Share a funny story with others. ~ Read funny greeting cards in your local Hallmark store.
Attend a laughter yoga class. ~ Be silly with your kids/grandchildren.
Do anything and everything silly: wear a funny hat when you go out to dinner; sing and/or dance while food shopping; skip instead of walk.
Engage in fun activities (bowling, miniature golf, etc) and make them funny.
Make some silly memories now! Those inane moments are the treasures that bring us joy as we age. They become some of our fondest memories and will naturally stir up laughter when recalled.

Look at the Lighter Side:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Too often, we beat ourselves up for making poor decisions or not being good enough. We are hyper-critical of ourselves whereas we might be more understanding and compassionate towards others. Whenever we create a blunder, unless it causes serious duress to another, make light of it. Laugh at yourself!
When I moved into my current house, I chose an interesting color scheme for the living/dining room. My husband suggested I paint a small area first to determine if in fact I’d like it. But I was so confident that I painted both rooms in their entirety only to discover I was not happy with my color choice. Not only did I make this error once, I repainted nine times in one month before settling on a basic beige. Rather than be embarrassed or berate myself, I made sure to tell everyone my hilarious story of indecision. I embellished it each time I related it to someone new. Twenty years later, I still get teased and twenty years later we’re all still laughing about it. We’ve gotten a lot of laughter mileage out of that one incident.
Say or do things in a humorous way. Whenever possible, use exaggerated movements, funny facial expressions, a silly tone of voice. Embellishing any situation adds an new dimension of wit.*

Don’t take others seriously, either. When others make mistakes or behave in a manner unbefitting them, laugh it off.
A driver made an illegal left-hand turn at an intersection, cutting me off and nearly causing an accident. When I honked my horn to show him the “no left turn” sign, he went ballistic. Flailing his arms like someone swatting bees and ranting hysterically, I found myself amused at what a fool he was making of himself. Surprisingly , rather than become annoyed at his childish behaviors, I began laughing at his idiocy. “He can’t be serious,” I remember thinking to myself.
Be warned that you must be sensitive in this area. Never make fun of the person but instead joke about the incident if it allows for it. Be certain that you know the individual well enough to interject humor into the equation. Be very cautious when proceeding because this could backfire if you are inconsiderate of the other person’s feelings and situation. And keep in mind that sarcasm is not humor – it’s passive aggressive anger and is never appropriate to use against another human being.

Look for the humor in a dark situation. With very few exceptions, one can find humor even in the saddest, loneliest, or scariest times. A cancer patient, after losing her hair from radiation treatments, quipped that she was grateful that she didn’t have to dye her hair any longer. “It was such a pain!” she joked, “and expensive!” Unless it is a moral issue or one of life or death, most distress can be alleviated with a joke or two.
When our basement flooded years ago, my husband and I spent a total of fourteen consecutive hours siphoning up water. He moaned and complained the entire time. I got a rubber duck out of my closet, placed it in the four inches of water that covered the floor, and while I vacuumed up the water with my shop vac, I sang the rubber ducky song from Sesame Street. I took a difficult situation and brought humor into it. The task was far less aggravating for me than it was for my husband.
I recently had company for dinner. While making homemade biscuits, I forgot to add baking powder. Needless to say, they did not rise and were hard as a rock. My son-in-law commented that they looked like hockey pucks. The next day, I called him to say that I put them outside for the squirrels to eat but even they found them distasteful. They were, however, having a ball playing hockey.

Groucho Marx: “A clown is like aspirin only he works twice as fast.”
“If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it.” Bill Cosby

Surround yourself with reminders to laugh. Cut out cartoon strips or funny photos and place them on your refrigerator door, your desk, the bathroom mirror, etc., anywhere that they will remind you to find humor today.
Wear a clown costume while you’re mowing the lawn; spray paint your hair two different colors before visiting your mom; put smiley face stickers all over your shirt before going to work.
The more you seek humor the more you’ll find it; the more you pursue laughter the less you’ll focus on anger.

Have a laughing buddy. Like joy, humor shared is humor multiplied. Sharing laughter with others keeps relationships healthy and uplifted. It acts as a bonding agent that brings people together (unlike anger which causes a division). Relationships become more playful, vital, and supportive. It heals resentments, disagreements, and hurts, puts things into their proper perspective, and unites people in difficult times. Like chicken pox (only in a good way) laughter is contagious and when you share a good chuckle with another person, it magnifies your own joy as well.
Laughter at funerals used to be frowned upon but when my mother-in-law recently passed away, everyone was asked to wear crazy socks and ties. We all shared funny stories about Mary that soothed the loss and brought her family together. It was definitely what she would have wanted.
One of my favorite pass times is listening to my girls giggling with their cousins. Even though they’re all in their forties, they still laugh as they did when they were single digit ages. Their laughter is infectious and soon everyone within earshot is chuckling as well.
Don’t have a laughing buddy readily available? Pull up a video on Youtube of babies laughing. I guarantee it will activate your funny bone.

A smile is the beginning of laughter. So initially, you may want to begin with being conscious of your smile. Use is often; display it every place you go; share it with everyone you encounter. Make it the most important accessory you wear each day. It’s more significant than your makeup, hair style and color or wardrobe.

We are naturally drawn to laughter. It is our birthright and makes us feel good. And since you can only experience one emotion at a time, choose humor. It will prevent anger from arising and keep you healthy and beautiful at the same time. And it’s free. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Q** Will Rogers: “When I die I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did – not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.”
Rodney Dangerfield: “My psychiatrist told me I was crazy. I said I wanted a second opinion. He said, Ok. You’re ugly too.”
A.A. Milne “People say nothing is impossible but I do nothing every day.”
Walter Matthau: “My doctor gave me 6 months to live but when I couldn’t pay the bill he gave me 6 months more.”
Rita Rudner: “I love being married. It’s great to find that one special person you can annoy for the rest of your life.”
George Burns: “I’m so old that when I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.”
Charles Lamb: “I always arrive late at the office but I make up for it by leaving early.”
Mitch Hedberg: “I wish my name was Brian. This way when people misspell it and call me Brain, it’s like getting a free compliment and I don’t even have to be smart to notice it.”

*See comedian Sebastian Maniscalco: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-mozilla-004&hsimp=yhs004&hspart=mozilla&p=sebastian+maniscalco#id=1&vid=c8c50ba0daa711f73c07e0b6571fb0d7&action=click
**www.AZQuotes.com
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
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+