Learn How to Resolve a Conflict

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Dealing with conflict, or the hangover from arguments and strong differences of opinion can be a real issue which affect our sense of confidence and self esteem. This may be a pushy work colleague who’s asked you to add yet another one of their tasks onto your work pile. It could be a partner or family member who just knows how to push your buttons, and is heaping yet more unreasonable emotional demands on you. Or it could simply an argument which has left you reeling and feeling anger and frustration, which you’re finding it hard to move on from. Sometimes it can feel like we are going around and around with the same situations and the same arguments, and you find it hard to find your voice or speak up. Maybe, you simply will do anything to avoid an argument, but as time goes on you find yourself increasingly frustrated and full of resentment. The trouble is that we are all viewing the world through wearing our own glasses, and seeing the situation very much from our side things, so we may feel wronged, and that what is happening is entirely unfair, but so too is the other person you are in conflict with. As the saying goes ‘There are two sides to every story, and somewhere in the middle is the truth.’ Each time a situation occurs and our emotions are triggered, we bring all of our previous hurst, misdemeanours and times we’ve been wronged into the present moment, and all that shade gets thrown into the current situation so that tensions get even more strained. If you are finding yourself growing more resentful, and would like an empowered way to deal with conflict, try this Perceptual Positions NLP exercise which will help you shift your perspective and give you tools for resolving conflict.

What You'll Need

  • 3 pieces of paper.

What You'll Do

  • Mark out three spaces on the floor, one will be for your place in the situation, one for the other person, one for the place of an independent observer and ‘coach’ to the situation.
  • Adopt the first perspective: Step onto the first position and play out the argument or conflict through your viewpoint. What can you see about the situation? What is the body language of the other person? What are they saying? How are you feeling? What is the bigger picture to you? Notice as much detail as you can without judging too much. Step off the first space and shake out your perspective.
  • Adopt the second perspective: Step onto the second space, which is where the person you have been in conflict with is. Adopt their viewpoint (keep yourself out of this, keep in their role). Play out station through their viewpoint. What do they see in the situation? What is the body language of the other person, i.e. you? What is the other person saying, or not saying to them? How are they feeling? What is the bigger picture or intention they have? Notice as much detail as you can without judging the other person. Step off the second space and shake out their perspective.
  • Now adopt a neutral perspective: Step onto the third space. This is the space of the independent observer. See both parties at the same time and witness the situation they are in without judgment for either, or what is going on. Be clear about the positive intention each one of the party in front of you has. Act as a coach to offer solutions which may support both of them and will lead to a positive resolve for all. Offer some things to the person in the first position that will be of positive use to them in this situation.
  • Step back into the first space and try out the ideas you coached yourself with in the last step. Notice how differently you feel about the original situation and how your representation of the other person has shifted.
  • Then step back into the second space, and look back the first space to see how different things are now.
  • Finally, check in on how you feel about the overall conflict now, and give yourself some reward for creating some empowered action from a difficult situation.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use this exercise any time you come across a challenging situation or conflict, where you would like to find some resolve.
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