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New Year – New Beginnings – Better You

by Patricia Porter
April 2016

Happy New Year, Abigail R.C McManus, Apprentice, by Pattie Porter's Texas Conflict Blog

Patricia Porter

The end of 2015 has arrived and what a year it has been! I love New Years because I love the idea of a new beginning. I like many others’ like to make New Year resolutions. I determine what my intentions for the coming year will be by reflecting on where I fell short over the last twelve months. After much reflection, it embarrasses me to admit that the area where I need the most improvement involves how I handle conflicts in my personal life. Despite my education in conflict management, I still find myself struggling to overcome certain behaviors when in the face of conflict. In this post, I want to share my shortcomings from 2015, and how I plan to make adjustments in the upcoming year.

In 2015, I was impatient. Over the course of this year, I pushed for the people I love to talk and discuss issues sometimes before they were ready because I was impatient and felt uncomfortable with lingering conflict not being resolved. I found my impatience brought about irritability and stress in my life which affected some of my relationships with others.

In 2016, I will be patient. I will practice slowing down and being more mindful of other’s needs. When I am feeling impatient about resolving a conflict that involves me either directly or indirectly, I want to slow down, take some deep breaths and acknowledge my impatience and what is causing it. I can write this in my journal or just self-reflect. After that, I will practice empathy and examine what may be causing them to be hesitant with me. My goal is to gain perspective that will allow me to be more patient with others.

In 2015, I was blunt. I have a sharp tongue, and I dislike beating around the bush. I like people to be straight with me. Therefore, I extend the same courtesy to others. However, this can be problematic because although I’m honest and point out the truth, saying it bluntly can hurt people’s feelings.

In 2016, I will think before I speak. I will practice not saying the first thing that comes to my mind and taking the extra time to think about what I am going to say before I say it. My goal is that I can articulate my points in such a way that it is honest but doesn’t hurt other’s feelings.

In 2015, I was reactive and emotional. I don’t always react or handle situations well; especially when I am stressed. I raise my voice, and I can get frustrated easily. I was naïve to think that only I was aware of this. Just before our wedding, when stress levels were high, several members of my bridal party started their questions off to me with “I was nervous about bringing this up to you but…” It was a huge wake-up call for me that the people I love were anxious to talk to me because they were worried about how I would react.

In 2016, I will be responsive. I will practice being more mindful of my emotions, speaking softer, and being more approachable. My goal is that I learn to handle stress and conflicts better so that no one feels nervous about approaching me.   If an issue arises, I first want to be aware of what I am feeling, and acknowledge it; again, I can write in my journal or self-reflect. Lastly, I will concentrate on the solution, instead of focusing on the problem. It will take less time, resolve more quickly, and I will feel less frustrated.

Your new beginnings and new you begin with an honest assessment of the areas on which you need to improve. I hope my reflections for 2015 will inspire you to develop a plan to make changes in 2016.


Pattie Porter, LCSW, is the Founder and President of Conflict Connections, Inc. in San Antonio, TX. She provides workplace and business conflict resolution services including mediation, conflict management coaching, team facilitation and training throughout the U.S. She is the host of her own Blog Talk Radio show called The Texas Conflict Coach.

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