I recently had some conflict come up with a close person in my life and it bothered me emotionally and physically. I don’t tend to experience conflict generally in my personal life, and specifically with this person, and it really burned me up inside. It felt uncomfortable to sit in this feeling and I didn’t like it. I hated it even. I lost sleep and focus. I didn’t know how to handle that emotional space.
I found myself creating some distance between myself and other close people in my life even though they had nothing to do with my relationship with the person I was really angry at. It was really eating me up inside. I was angry, and frustrated and I had the right to be, but my life seemed to be a little off for the two weeks that went by while sitting in this discomfort. In order for my life to feel balanced again, I created this pressure to make it right and to do so sooner than later.
A friend recently vented to me about a person she’s experiencing conflict with when I inadvertently told her words that I needed to hear for myself. I didn’t realize I needed to hear them but it was through her situation that I finally convinced myself that it was time to do what I didn’t want to to.
In my life, I feel like I’m the one who always “gives in” and has to be “the bigger person” when there is a disagreement between myself and another. I’m usually the one that comes to the realization that we must have a conversation in order to move forward. Why does this always have to be me??? I digress.
My attitude the last couple of weeks was: “Stand your ground!” “Don’t give in!” “You are right!” And although I still feel that way very much so, I can still be honest with myself, own my feelings, and be mature and brave enough to initiate the conversation.
I had to really reflect on a few things before I came to the conclusion that I was going to have to break the ice to move towards resolving our conflict. And as a friend once told me, It’s okay to say that you don’t like having to be the one to initiate the conversation. Here are the questions I asked myself before I made the call:
- Do you want your life to feel balanced again?
- How important does this relationship mean to me?
- Do you feel like there is anything that you need to apologize for?
- The conversation we need to have is a two way street. Am I ready to receive the other person’s point of view?
- What are the boundaries of our conversation? Will I need to make those lines clear? For example: I will be willing to listen, but the other person needs to be willing to listen too. If the conversation is not productive, we will need to agree that we should end the conversation and perhaps talk at a different time.
- Why am I really angry?
- Am I ready to have this conversation? Do I need more time?
- And most importantly, be prepared and understand that even though you may be in the emotional frame of mind to talk, the other person might not be.
After making the call and and some time processing the outcome, I felt a sense of relief. It wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for, but I had done my part and I accepted it. I slept through the night that night and my life started piecing itself back together again.
How do you process conflict? What are some other good questions to add to the list?