The hardest part about resolving conflict – and how to make it easier
I paused. “I have noticed that happening more often lately.”
Seems like a logical question – logical answer, right?
We walked along a bit in silence and I noticed that I was starting to feel uncomfortable. As I stayed with the feeling, I recognized it as hurt.
Okay, negative emotion recognized – time to go through my “Healing / Finding Peace” process.
First question – what do you want John to do differently?
I guessed that John wasn’t happy about this thing that he was noticing and I wanted him to acknowledge his feelings and that he wanted something to be different.
When I picture that happening, what needs of mine are met?
Self-empowerment because John would be taking responsibility for something he wanted (it’s my need because I want it, even though I want to see it in his behaviour), and it would also meet my needs for honesty and collaboration.
What “shoulds” or self-judgments does some part of me have about myself?
Ouch! This, for me, is the hardest part of resolving an issue with someone – recognizing these self-judgments and bringing compassion to myself by recognizing the needs “inside” them.
So first my “should’s”: I should remember the answers that John gives to questions I ask him.
What needs of mine are met when I picture that happening (i.e., remembering the answers he gives when I ask what’s on his mind)?
Love, respect, connection.
Then my self-judgments / worries: Why don’t I remember the answers that he has given? Am I losing my mind?
What do those things tell me about what I want?
I want to understand why I don’t always remember his answers. And I want to know that my mind is sharp and clear.
What needs are met when I picture having those things I want? Understanding, clarity, self-respect.
The Power of the Second Question
By asking myself the second set of questions I recognize the self-judgments I’m hearing/feeling as my own, and I connect to the beauty of what I’m wanting that’s underneath their prickly exterior.
If I don’t ask myself the second set of questions, I tend to project those judgments onto the other person and I create or deepen an argument with them.
Whereas when I do ask and answer these questions, it melts away my negative emotion, it completely changes my mental state, and enables me to bring a positive, collaborative and curious energy to the conversation that helps to restore connection with the other person and takes me at least 80% of the way to a successful resolution.
The Challenge of the Second Question
The way our brains are built, it is extremely difficult for us to ask and answer the second question when we’re feeling any kind of emotional upset.
That’s because these questions require a kind of vulnerability, so we need to feel safe in order to consider them. But when we’re feeling upset, by definition we don’t feel safe.
That’s why for years and years, I could only ask myself the second questions when I was with someone who made me feel safe enough to be vulnerable about my fears and limitations. Someone I trusted to hear me with compassion, empathy, and care.
Support for Asking the Second Question
It is the most meaningful part of my work to help people feel safe enough to ask and answer these questions; to be the person who sees their lovable, capable, kind self and who knows that there are beautiful needs inside whatever choices they’ve made.
And I want to help spread the practice of these skills to as many people as possible so together we can make our community and our world a place where people feel safe enough to find ways to meet everyone’s needs peacefully.
That’s the purpose of the two courses I’m offering this fall:
1) Peaceful Conflict Resolution & Prevention – Part 1
Six 2-hour sessions – via Zoom
Tues Oct 17 – Tues Nov 21
7:30-9:30 pm Eastern time
Click here for more information
4) Grow Your Skills / Gaining Mastery
For people who have studied with me both the “Shift” / Heal & Learn process and the Change Conversation process (how to talk and make decisions with others)
Monthly 2-hour sessions – via Zoom
Starting Mon Sept 18 – 3rd Monday of the month thru May 2024
exceptions: December and May – 2nd Monday (Dec 11, May 13)
7:30-9:30 pm Eastern time
Click here for more info.
$50 / month (+ GST/HST if applicable)
Click here to register for “Grow Your Skills”
I wish you a lovely week!