Tag Archives: Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution or Conflict Management?

Let’s be honest, most people are afraid of conflict. The do not like the uneasy feeling that comes over them. They do not want to ruffle feathers or cause the other person to explode. Some people actually have to walk a very fine line to make sure their spouse does not flip out. People do just enough to move on to another day, and they never address the root of the issue. This is true in relationships, work environments, or war. Instead of resolving conflict, they chose to manage it by balancing beliefs, sanity, and self-control. It is not an easy thing to do, and it can take a toll on you.

What is conflict? The Coalition Foundation (2015) defines conflict as a “struggle or contest between people with opposing need, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals.”  Conflict results because there is some form of miscommunication between people with regards to opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. I think we all would agree, the biggest and most frustrating problem with conflict is miscommunication. We are stuck to our cell phones and emails more than ever, and it is extremely easy to be a “telephone tough guy” and say things that are condescending and degrading. In reality, text and emails have no voice. It is left to the reader to predict how the other person said what they sent. In their head, they think they know the tone of the writer, which couldn’t be further than the truth. I know I am guilty of this myself. However, when we talk face to face, the confrontation is greatly decreased because the tone is nothing like we thought.

The University of Peace (2005) defines conflict management as the effort to prevent the escalation of violence and its negative effects on conflict. USAID, “Training of Trainers Manual,” outlines several issues managers of conflict need to understand in order to properly implement conflict management principals. First, it is important to understand the underlying issues of the conflict. This provides direction and understanding for the stakeholders involved. In this context, it is necessary to examine the cultural background and experiences of the stakeholders to ensure neutrality. Second, there are different types of relationships which could occur during the process. Questions such as: Is there a connection? What type of alliance is there? What is the direction of power or influence? Are there broken relationships? Is there discord and why? In most conflicts power is the single most important element because it affects the dynamics of the relationships or conflict the most, and to successfully analyze and provide solutions, practitioners need to understand uses of power because it can be confusing.

In contrast, Miller and King (2005) define conflict management as an “interventionist effort to prevent conflict and violence,” while providing no structured method to resolve conflict. Instead, resolving conflict requires a flexible approach to finding a resolution to problems. Conflict management does not hold that all conflicts can be resolved. Instead, conflict management focuses on decreasing the level of non-productivity. This can be accomplished by having the skills needed to navigate into conflict resolution, including self-awareness about the conflict modes, understanding a variety of communications skills, and by establishing some form of structure to manage the conflict. Spangler (2003) believes conflict management is the control of deep-rooted conflict and resolution is possible if the right tools are applied. However, conflict management requires engaging in a manner that is “more constructive and less destructive.” The ultimate goal for any conflict is to intervene in such a way that makes the ongoing conflict “more beneficial and less damaging.” Best (2005) further believes conflict management is the process of reducing negativity through a variety of measures.

 

What does this mean?  Is managing conflict or resolving the conflict the right process for you and your circumstance. If you are in a relationship /marriage, I would highly suggest to pick and choose your battles. In my professional opinion, you must always be completely honest, and never speak out of emotion.  Conflict resolution is a must for major issues affecting the dynamics of the relationship and both parties’ feelings. Leave managing conflict for smaller items. While the ultimate goal is a win-win solution, the reality is it will not always occur.

 

In the end, there is no easy way to handle conflicts. Both parties’ must be willing to engage constructively. In relationships, both persons need to engage without emotion by setting boundaries. Some items may need to be tabled, so each person has time to think about things, then reengage at a later time. Ultimately, everyone wants to come away feeling like they had a hand in the decision making process.

 

 

 


Do Not Shut Me Out!

Besides financial problems, the single biggest problem in relationships is the inability to communicate. The inability to speak to your significant other about your feelings, concerns, and emotions is a huge problem. Weather you ask any relationship or religious expert, examine online resources, or read any library or text books, they will tell you active listening is paramount in resolving any conflict. If something is bothering your significant other enough to mention it, then you should take the time to listen. It doesn’t matter if they have mentioned it hundred times, obviously something is making them feel that way and the issues need to be readdressed. However, these issues need to be actively resolved and not pushed to the side.

 

What ends up happening is that if it continues to not be resolved, it continues to build up until neither party can resolve the issue because the situation has switched gears from conflict resolution to one of personal attacks. It is the total lack of communication by both people that end up causing the cycle to continue. Why? Because they are so involved in their own emotions that they are unable to see outside their sphere. They become blinded, deaf, and in the end, shut each other out while trying to make things better.

 

While you might be thinking that listening is an easy thing to do, in actuality, it is the hardest thing for a person to do. Many of us, including myself, take things personal. It is NOT personal, it is NOT an attack, and it is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. You must actually put things into action and not let things happen again. Do not shut the other person out when all they are trying to do is communicate with you in a respectful manner.

 

In the end, you chose each other. Be loving, understand, and kind. You only have each other, so take the time to resolve conflict the same way you love each other when things are wonderful. It will bring you closer together, create mutual happiness, and take the relationship to a whole new level.


Fireproof

Yesterday showed me just how wrong I have been, when I thought I was actually right about everything. I genuinely thought in my mind I was doing everything, everyday the right way. I am faithful, loyal, committed, passionately in love with my bride, and I always do whatever I can for her in order to take the burden off her shoulders. Boy, was I wrong! Relationships take work, time, and commitment. Until you uncover the root cause of the issues you as an individual are facing, you will continue to have problems. I never thought I was the one who had problems. I just needed her to listen to my concerns. This was the wrong approach to take.

 

We watched Fireproof as a family. If you care at all about your marriage or your relationship, then it is a movie to watch. Moreover, there are online resources to utilize to help you in this journey. It is a very emotional process, and it makes you face tough issues, but is it the best thing out there for truly understanding how to love one another. It is for serious people who genuinely care about their significant other and their relationship. This is something you can do together, so throw your heart and soul into it, and never look back. I will always “study” her, and I will always do what I can every single day to show her how much I love her. The movie showed me that I never knew how to love myself, so how could I love her properly, if I couldn’t understand how to do so?

 

It is about faith and religion, and its application is geared towards whatever higher being you believe in. Additionally, I realized I cannot shoulder everything. I need guidance. While I thought I was doing everything in my power to meet her needs, I was failing in some aspects which were sensitive for us to discuss and probably the most important. Open and honest communication is necessary in any relationship, so put your pride aside, watch, actively listen, and put a plan into action together. This is a lifestyle change, not just a fix. You will see that both of you will reap the rewards by loving and growing with each other more than you ever thought possible.

 

As in all things I do, thank you for honey for loving me, being patient, and for all you do. This is for you and girls.


Growth and Criticism

Life is nothing more than a series of choices, and it is from those choices that we drive our experiences. Good or bad, those choices have a huge impact not only on ourselves, but those around us. The last four months of my life have been incredible. Though personal hardship was a part of the process, it has reshaped me as a person. I finally found myself, and I am focused, proud of who I have become, proud of my accomplishments, proud to be a mentor, and most importantly proud of my personal relationships with family and friends. I truly appreciate the simple things in life and I work to live, not live to work.

 

We each live our lives from different perspectives, and no one will ever understand the decisions you made because they are not you. In an article written by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields, The Minimalist, titled,  “Fake Outrage: Dealing with Criticism,” they address our reactions to others criticism. They term these people as “keyboard mercenaries” because those who criticize are often the very ones who are reflecting nothing more than their own insecurities because they have been rejected or offended in some way. No one is perfect, and no one is immune from criticism.  Allowing people to offend us is a natural process, but it is one that is not needed. Instead, walk away because it doesn’t matter. When you are doing the right things, people are going to criticize you. Stay motivated, focused, and moving forward.


Turning Point

In each of our lives there is a turning point. It usually comes when we have been slapped in the face by an event so brutal we have to make a change. We have to decide if we are going to move forward, or if we are willing to lose those close to us. It is in these moments we can completely change who we are or we can continue on a path of self destruction and pain.

 

When you decide to change, throw yourself into it. Be the person you always knew you could be. Be honest, loyal, caring, passionate, and loving. Life is about our relationships with those who completely love us with all their hearts. Love them back, and embrace them every chance you get like it will be the last time you will ever see them. When you do not give yourself totally to the process, you not only let yourself down, you let those who gave you a chance down. Moreover, you will never know the relationships full potential.

 

What does a turning point represent? It represents a new beginning, and it is one of the greatest moments in your life because it is your transition from being selfish to being selfless. Priorities change. You no longer worry about your own needs, and you put the needs of your significant other before your own. Things that meant most to you take a back seat to spending time with those you love the most. Your behavior changes drastically because there is nothing you would ever do to cause the other person a once of pain. Instead, you work, tirelessly to show them every day you are the person you now claim to be. Old behaviors do not exist. You have been reborn and someone has given you an opportunity to take their hand and experience life filled with love, joy, and happiness. The ultimate sign of the turning point is asking someone to marry you. You are clearly saying that there is nothing in this world I love or cherish more than you. You are my everything, and you are the sole person on this planet I have chosen to be with.

 

When someone talks to you about getting married, there should be no doubt in your mind this person truly loves you. The honorable thing to do is to be honest about your feelings. Either you really hope they will marry you and you commit your life to them, or be honest and tell them the truth. Nothing is more embarrassing or painful than when someone wants to get married only to find out the other person is still into games like lying, cheating, texting, and meeting other people. Throw yourself into the new you, never look back, and let that person love you like there is no tomorrow.

 

The turning point is about personal growth, and the appreciation of life. It is about appreciating someone who has picked you out of a sea of people in the world to spend the rest of their life with on this planet. Show them everyday you are capable of earning and deserving their love. If you do, I can assure you that the happiest days of your life lay ahead of you.

 

 

James Joyce said, “Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.”

 


Why is there so much violence?

There is so much violence around the world and in the United States. I believe the very freedoms we enjoy are also the Achilles Heel of much of what we deal with. There has been a culture change and numbness to violence. While I use to believe video games and embedded journalism should have no restrictions placed on them, what I have come to realize that maybe they should. Our society is a very volatile one. We care more about proving a point than rallying together regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation. We are a free society for a reason, but there comes responsibility with those very freedoms as well. Ownership, hold yourself accountable for your actions and inactions. Violence and threats solve nothing. The senseless killing of one another does nothing more than create more violence. It is so easy to pick up a gun and shoot someone rather than talk things through. Diplomacy and active listening are lost arts. People are more willing to jump to conclusions based on a lack of information than they are to hear what the other person has to say.

 

Even as a conflict resolution expert, I struggle with my own life. No one is perfect. Treat everyone as they want to be treated. Look past the color of skin, a uniform, and hearsay. Talk through problems. People are so quick to walk away from an issue or problem rather than giving everyone the opportunity to say what they need to say. People assume the worse in each other, when there is a lot of good in them as well.

 

It is more obvious now more than ever that each person has the ability to kill. However, we choose not too based on the norms of society, and based on rational thinking. Others, let their emotions get the best of them, and even when they are trying to prove a point they end up looking like babbling psychopaths. The extremism and radicalism of racial and religious divide in the world is out of control. Ignorance instead of tolerance is becoming the norm. People are unwilling to compromise and just agree to disagree. You may not agree with what the other person believes in or what they do in their lives, but it does not excuse you to use violence. Instead, it is an opportunity to learn more about an issue from a different perspective. Your way is not the only way, it is just a way. While some will argue violence is the only way to create change, I will argue that it is only a short term solution. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Most of the violence seen around the world is an excuse for criminals to be criminals, and they will look for any excuse or opportunity to create chaos and destruction. In the end, there is so much violence because people lack the coping skills to deal with sensitive issues, and they resort to violence in order to fill the void their knowledge, skills, and ability lack.

 

 


Admitting when you are wrong

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I have hurt a lot of people. There is no excuse for it, and I take full responsibility for it. In 44 years of my life, I have been blaming others for my inadequacies; I have blamed others for not reaching my goals, and not doing the right thing. I am not a law breaker, I don’t do drugs, and I very rarely drink if any. My life compared to most is pretty boring you might say. I have never owned a house, and I have lived outside of my means, living pay check to pay check, with nothing more to show than debt. I have always felt like a failure, but what I have managed to see is that it is my own fault. I have no one else to blame. The decisions I have made were my own. More than anything, I had to forgive my self, which is a hard burden to shoulder.

 

Now, I have focus, now I have a support system that encourages me. I am a better man, and every person that comes into my life serves a purpose, to make me a better person. In other words, I have goals, plans, and dreams. I have things I want to accomplish. It is about the process, and it is about learning what to do and what not to do. At the end of the day, it is about being better than the day before. I will never take advantage of anyone, I will never intentionally hurt anyone, and I will do my best each day to live life to the fullest.

 

I am not looking for anything from anyone, I am just saying regardless of who you are we all make mistakes. I have tried all my life to do it all alone, and I can no longer do it. I am doing things the right way, trying my best to live by the words I write. In the next few months you will start to learn more about me, my life, the people in it, and how we all can relate to one another. There will be some really good things to come out of this transition, and I hope you will be apart of this journey.


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