One of the hardest things to do in the midst of intense conflict is to find the bigger picture.
Albeit difficult, those who have the capacity to find perspective in the midst of confusion, misunderstanding and difficulty are the ones who end up with satisfying relationships. Those who can’t find the bigger picture, go around the fighting ferris wheel over and over, never finding what they are desperately looking for.
Every conflict has the capacity to create deeper and long lasting relationships or wound every person in the story.
None of us want conflict in our lives. Even those who are confrontational in their style of communication, will walk away wishing that that conversation went down differently.
What if we were empowered with some tools that helped us find perspective quickly in the midst of conflict?
Lately, I have found three simple ways to help find the bigger picture in the midst of conflict and these have been helping me so much in the midst of my difficult conversations.
Finding my voice
Imagine your life right now was a movie and every movie story line is soaked in conflict. Without conflict the story has no movement and shape. The difference between a movie though and real life, the emotions we feel in the midst of conflict are very, very real.
Most conflict happens in a movie when the protagonist (the lead character) looses their voice in some way. When they feel they are not being heard, when they are being silenced, when they are being misunderstood, when they are facing injustice or when they are hurt.
These are the same reasons why conflict occurs in our everyday lives. Most fights in our everyday, are actually about what is happening inside of us, not the circumstance that is causing the difficult conversation.
When I became a first time Mum, one of the greatest difficulties and also greatest opportunities was when I gave up full time work. I realised this season silenced me. It was like when I lost my job, that I also lost my voice. I was defined so much by my work, that when I no longer had a position any more, I realised that I had built my confidence around what I did, rather than who I was.
In this year, I made a decision to write on my blog every single day. It was through writing that I started to find my voice again. I dug deep, I delved into the greater story. I found perspective. I realised that writing was an important tool in helping me find internally the parts of my story, that I felt had been taken away.
My first thought is this…In the midst of the conflict, one of the reasons the fight gets dirty, when we feel like we are not being heard and not able to express properly what we are truly feeling.
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” Malala Yousafzai
You will constantly be fighting with people and you will not be satisfied by any of your relationships, if you are not finding a way to express yourself healthily. Learning deeply what you are trying to say and finding peace internally before the conflict even starts. Most conflicts have nothing to do with the actual circumstance but everything to do with our internal peace.
Step back and think “What am I actually trying to say?”
Find the pause button
Our greatest regrets are the things we have said in the heat of the moment that we wish we had never said. There are moments in the midst of destructive conversations, that we need to press pause.
Im not saying stop the conversation, because when we stop communicating, when we become passive aggressive, we loose our voice and we all know what happens when people stop communicating, something small happens and they erupt.
The thing about pausing a movie, is we come back and press play again.
We need to find the bigger picture in the midst of the conflict, press pause, find the grace, find the bigger picture and then find a way to process the first point of what we are really trying to say.
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”Brené Brown
We all get it wrong, we are designed to struggle, but when we press pause and when we gain perspective we remember we are worthy of love and belonging. In that place of strength we communicate with so much more clarity and peace.
Step back and find perspective in the pause.
Find the best possible reason
Lately I have been doing this little thing which is honestly changing the conflict in the midst of my life. Conflict with my toddler, conflict with my husband, conflict with my family.
I ask myself this question.
What is the best possible reason I can find for this behaviour?
Instead of going crazy in my head before the conflict starts, or in response to something really nasty that has happened, I get creative and I ask myself to come up with the best possible reason for the behaviour.
Honestly us humans are not great at this. Often we think things about what other people are thinking and we so often get it totally wrong. The depth of emotion that flies out mid conflict is all in direct association to the way we think about the person and the circumstance in the days post or pre conflict.
We are our worst enemies in this battle zone.
What if when something annoying happens, we find the best possible answer rather than the worst.
Step back and ask what is the very best possible explanation for this behaviour?
It actually starts to become fun. Try it sometime.
I hope these three thoughts on conflict resolution help you find some more peace in your relational worlds and help you to fight and communicate a little fairer.
Speak again soon,