I don’t know about you – but there are many times I “second-guess” what I said or did in some conflict situations. Or, I might “second-guess” what bothered me in the first place.
The term second-guess has various definitions and for the purpose of this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog I’ll refer to Cambridge Dictionary’s meaning. That definition suggests second-guessing as the act of criticizing someone’s actions or event after it has happened. Considering this definition and the context then, second-guessing in conflict is the act of criticizing ourselves or the other person about the thinking, deeds, words, ways of interacting and so on relating to a fractious interaction. On this basis, here are some questions to consider about a situation in which you are second-guessing your part or the other person’s.
- What did you do or say that you are now second-guessing?
- About what specifically are you criticizing yourself? Why are you particularly critical of that?
- What motivated your actions, words, etc. that you are criticizing?
- What does your motivation reflect about what you needed at the time?
- What did you want that you weren’t getting?
- What first guess(es) might have been better for you? What first guess(es) might have been better for the other person?
- What different outcome might there be if you had chosen the first guess you referred to in the previous question?
- What are you second-guessing about the other person’s words, actions, etc.?
- What positive intent might the person have had that you didn’t consider at the time?
- What might keep you from second-guessing the next time you are faced with a similar situation?
- What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
- What insights do you have?