How do you experience conflict?

Part of being human means experiencing conflict. It generally does not feel good, which leads to a variety of ways to handle (or mishandle) it. Some people avoid all conflict, or any situation that may possibly lead to conflict.  Instead, they focus more energy on work, alcohol, drugs, shopping, exercise, or some other time consuming activity. Some folks really dig in their heels when faced with conflict, and spout every negative thought or feeling ever experienced about the person or situation. 

Avoidance and aggression can both do damage. Avoidance can make what would have been difficult conversation six months or six years ago even more challenging and uncomfortable after all of the hard feelings get stuffed inside for months or years. And, after digging in and throwing those negative thoughts out there with reckless abandon, words and actions cannot be taken back and more work needs to be done to process them.  

What if we lean into that difficult conversation with all the grace, compassion, and humility we can muster? What if we speak our truth and admit our feelings, wants, or needs?  Sure, it might be uncomfortable. It might disappoint. It might change the nature of a relationship. Yet, the truth will be out there, and everyone can work from a shared understanding, rather than spending time guessing, assuming, and presuming to know what is really happening. This allows each person can fully process, move forward, and heal.  

Mediation provides space for constructive conversations to clarify needs, consider options, and create ideas for resolution in a private, confidential setting. Conflict coaching and conflict resolution skills training give you the tools to handle difficult conversations more constructively with clarity, confidence, and compassion. 

A civil and family mediator, peace builder, and educator, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help to transform conflict and create peace.

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.