“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” ~ James Baldwin
The notion that we have the ability to change someone (such as their personality, their needs, their values, their core beliefs, their deeply held views) is unrealistic. However, it is realistic that we all have the ability to change – to better understand – our perspectives on an interpersonal conflict including the other person’s part in it. We are able to also face that we contributed to the dynamic including saying or doing things we may not like about ourselves. In the end, if we don’t face what drives our emotions, words and actions and the adverse impact we experienced and caused – nothing really changes.
Admittedly, it is hard to face lots of things about our interpersonal conflicts. As they evolve and our animosity grows, we can easily make up stories to support our views – and find the other person’s wrongness in anything that agrees with our perceptions. We lose perspective, and do an injustice to the other person and ourselves by holding on too tightly to our perspectives and what we think is right.
If you have a dispute in mind in which you know, at some level of consciousness, you are not facing up to some things within it, the following invites you to bring that conflict forward to answer this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions).
- What is the situation?
- What are you telling yourself and others about what occurred?
- About what are you not being totally honest regarding the perspective you share with others? Why is that?
- What is the hardest element of this conflict to face?
- What makes that hard (your answer to the above question)?
- If you are really honest with yourself, how did you contribute to the dispute – if you didn’t already answer that in response to a previous question?
- What motivated you to contribute that way (your answer to the last question)?
- If you were to face how you contributed to the dispute and admit that to the other person, what do you expect might change between you?
- What do you suppose the other person is not facing? Why might that be?
- What needs to change so you can forgive? Apologize? Move on?
- What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
- What insights do you have?