Some people love to argue and fight. Part of me is in awe of these gutsy folks because I am the opposite. I hate arguing. I don’t even like watching other people fight.
Instead, my typical response was always one of three things: I avoided the confrontation or I worked hard at making peace, smoothing things over or acting like it was no big deal.
But as I moved more into being authentic, none of these behaviors felt genuine. They were just ways that I was ignoring myself, allowing myself to be quieted or swallowing how I really felt. And then, when I ran a business, I had no choice because conflict was in my face.
It was time to deal with it.
With guidance from co-workers and coaches, and years of practice, here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Think Before You Talk
Not everyone has the ability to come up with a smart reply in an instant. So, instead of reliving the moment with all of your witty “should have said” remarks, move on.
Your time is better spent thinking about what you really want to say. Create an argument, a rationale about what you believe and why. Draw on facts, and examples to lend persuasion.
2. Keep Your Emotions in Check
Have you ever heard the expression, once you get angry, you’ve lost?
When you feel really passionate about something, whether you’ve been wronged or desperately want another person to see your point of view, it’s easy to get impassioned, heated, or intense.
But emotion doesn’t often work in your favor. Usually, as emotion escalates, the argument loses ground. In other words, it becomes easier for the person to ignore you or to discredit your ideas, chalking it all up to overreaction, melodrama or hysteria.
3. Show Up – Don’t Avoid
Trust me when I say it’s better to speak up, get it out and move on.
I’ve spent lots of time avoiding issues both in my personal life and in business. But it’s always the same. Nothing changes until we’re ready to show up. And often times, by not confronting an issue, it can actually get worse.
The next time you find yourself wanting to avoid a sensitive topic, check in. What will it take for you to talk to that co-worker? Or tell your mate that you need help with chores? Or confront your child about the state of his room?
4. Connect Within
Nowadays, when I find myself upset about something, the first thing I do is check in with me. Is this real? Do I have a legitimate reason to be upset or is this something I am not seeing clearly?
If my internal answer confirms that there is a problem, I then ask for guidance. How can I resolve this? What is my next step? What do I need to do?
I also use affirmation to support me during this time.
One of my favorites is something I adapted from Louise Hay and if I’m really upset or afraid, I’ll repeat it over and over again. “Out of this situation only good will come. I see this issue being resolved for the highest good of everyone involved. I am safe.”
It helps me stay brave, calms me down and has the benefit of really helping a situation shift!
Whether you like it or not, conflict is a part of life. And learning to deal with it from a place of the heart is key. It can transform your life as well as those around you.