I'm sure we've all been at a place where the situation feels too sticky to go back to.
Of course I am talking about our old friend conflict.
I can often recall myself thinking back.. Was I actually right? Was the other person right?
Does it actually matter who was right?
One of my less finer moments I can recall was with a teacher. I had been caught red handed in year 7 spreading vicious rumours about other people in my class. SCANDALOUS!
In the moment- I was so desperate to find someone else to pin it on. Someone else who made me do it! Someone who blackmailed me and forced me to do it because I was being held against my will. Unfortunately my life was not an episode in NCIS. I really had no line of defence, or even someone else to blame. It was simple. It was me. I was the problem. But I never would have admitted it at the time. Who would?
Through experience I've come to see that as people, we are pretty rubbish when we are all fired up. I was great at getting fired up to prove I'm right. Sometimes it's a teacher, sometimes it's a parent. And sometimes they are wrong.
But most often we find, the battle is inside of us. Yes, we may be disagreeing with someone, but what's stopping us from letting go of wanting to be right all the time? Where to from here? If we face a situation or a person how should we respond?
Here's some tips:
1. Find your cold spot: Pulse racing? Volume increasing? Maybe it's best to remove yourself from the situation. If you can't remove yourself from the place or away from a person, maybe take some time to find your mental cold spot. That place where everything is great, and you're on an island sipping a coconut. Find that place where you can relax.
2. Take some time: However long you need to remove your thoughts from the "I am right, they are wrong" mentality- take that time! You won't be able to be diplomatic in your actions or words when you're still thinking about that stuff.
3. The balance: Ask yourself, is my relationship with this person/people worth more to me than this disagreement?
4. Time to talk: Don't leave the situation or person guessing on whether you're still cool with them. Go back, talk to them in person and be super clear about how you're feeling. If you need more time, be honest.
5. Be close: When we learn to work through a disagreement and we actually make it through- we become closer to those we once disagreed with. We learn to work better with the people around us, and we start to see how different we are from each other. And different is okay. You are never going to be the best at everything, so you need a team around you who can compliment you in your strengths and weaknesses.
Hope this helps you navigate some disagreements. And remember, often the biggest battle is inside you.
Social Worker and Chaplain Extraordinaire