Thursday, April 8, 2010

Conflict Resolution

Yesterday I had an issue that needed to be resolved with someone close to me. All day I had that nagging, nervous feeling about how the discussion would go. Life is full of conflict. I say something stupid and wonder if I've hurt the other person's feelings, or I feel upset after an interaction with someone and have to put my finger on the reason why it hurts.

I find my journal is very helpful in these situations. I write until I hit upon the reason I feel upset. Usually it jumps off of the page when I've invested enough time in isolating the problem. Until I know what is really upsetting me, I can't proceed to fix it.

When I spoke to the person yesterday, I was reminded again of how good it feels to resolve the conflict. Thinking about the discussion is always the worst part. Once I've broached the subject, stumbling past the initial uncomfortable opening, it generally gets better. I say what is bothering me, and then stop to listen to where the other person is coming from, and I always learn something helpful.

There are two sides to every conflict. We know our own side, but must work to see the issue from the other person's perspective. When both sides are considerate and gracious, the conflict is resolved and the relationship becomes stronger. I think of it like those stepping stones in gardens: where there was a gap, there are now stones, and you can walk across to the person you were separated from.

I love seeing my relationships grow stronger instead of weaker. Conflict is always hard, but a good conversation clears the air like rain in the spring. It makes everything lighter and easier between two people. Understanding greases the wheels of relationship and keeps things running smoothly. Without a hiccup every now and again, we wouldn't know how valuable our primary relationships really are.

It's been a good week. I seem to be ending it with the beginnings of a cold, but I'm nurturing it, making excuses to sit down with my novel instead of bustling around accomplishing things. This spring break for Ava has been like a vacation for all of us with a slightly different change of pace, slower mornings, and fun activities. I would describe it as a luxury of time. Creating an inner stillness is rewarding on its own. It sharpens my other senses to slow down and notice how I feel and become more aware of the small pleasures in life.

If you have a chance, pop on over to and read my article there on the Doghouse. I'm honoured to serve as their staff writer for a woman's perspective on the male/female dynamic. It's a new site designed for guys to connect with each other and buy a membership card to get discounts on gear for guys at various local vendors. They are still getting everything set up, but are selling friends and family cards now. Go to the website for all of the details. Every time I write a new piece I'll direct you over there. Go check it out!

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