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Conflict Resolution: 6 Simple Steps

Conflict Resolution: 6 Simple Steps

These six simple steps can take the sting out of conflict and lead to peaceful, mutually satisfying resolution. I have seen, over and over again, how relationships improve when my clients begin practicing these steps in their lives. Let these six simple principles for conflict resolution help you on the path toward a more peaceful life and better interactions with others.

1. Detach. If you weren’t personally involved with this conflict, how differently would you feel? Do what you can to self-soothe, be objective, calm yourself, and not take it personally. It can help to approach the conflict as if you were an objective outside witness, simply observing.

2. Be Curious. Be with the conflict in the spirit of inquiry, asking yourself questions like, What is the other person feeling? What lesson might be hidden here? Where are my healthy boundaries around this issue?

3. Fair hearing. As far as possible, let the other person express him or herself, without your evaluating, judging, or condemning either them or what they have to say. If uncomfortable feelings come up, breathe through them. Witness to yourself how you are feeling without acting on those feelings: there is nothing wrong with anger, for instance–anger is a healthy sign that something needs to change. But some of the things people do with anger, like saying mean or hurtful things, can be damaging.

4. Echo. Repeat back what you heard. You will be amazed at how we often mis-hear things, and what a profoundly healing effect it has on a situation to simply be heard. Also, if your conflict-partner has said hurtful things to you, simply stating what you heard can be really eye-opening: often, people simply don’t realize the effect their words have on others.

5. Express. Rather than attacking with “You” statements, use “I” statements to say how you feel. No one can argue with your feelings: they’re yours. Take responsibility for your feelings, but stay as clean as possible, not allowing them to make you behave in less-than-kind ways. Making the choice to stay in your truth with both strength and compassion is tremendously empowering.

6. Find the Win-Win. Perceive the other person as your partner in conflict resolution rather than as an enemy. Ask questions like “What can we do to make this feel better? What would be a good solution for both of us?”

Take this quiz to find our if you fight fairly or not.

Read more: Spirit, Guidance, Self-Help, ,

By Cait Johnson, author of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (SkyLight Paths, 2003).

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Cait Johnson

Cait Johnson, MFA, is the author of six books, including Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit, Witch in the Kitchen, Celebrating the Great Mother and Tarot Games. She has been a counselor for more than 20 years, and teaches workshops on seasonal elemental approaches to self-healing, conscious eating, and soul-nurturing creativity.

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92 comments

+ add your own
9:07AM PDT on May 15, 2013

ty

7:42AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

good reminders

10:22AM PST on Jan 14, 2012

Thanks

12:10AM PST on Feb 8, 2011

Thanks for this. Most serves as a really good reminder for me.

12:32AM PDT on Apr 29, 2010

thanks

3:39AM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

long road it is to achieve conflict resolution! gret tips! thanks!

4:40PM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

It's a difficult thing to do but if you can think about what "you've" said & if it's unfair that can help a bad argument.

1:34PM PST on Jan 24, 2010

We need to realize that live is short, so how would you like to be your last minutes in this amazing world?

3:56AM PDT on Oct 28, 2009

Eat less so that you don't hurt yourself, and speak less so that you don't hurt the others.

3:22PM PDT on Oct 21, 2009

It is always good to be reminded about how to have a more peaceful world. Thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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