How You Can Resolve Conflict In Your Marriage and Family to Have Healthier and More Satisfying Relationships
How to Practice Healthy Conflict Resolution in Your Most Important Relationships
We all have those difficult situations and circumstances in life and in our core relationships that we sometimes would rather hide from or just magically make go away. Whether it’s conflict within your family, or stressful interactions at work, it’s often difficult to know just how to navigate conflicts. But what if you could learn how to talk through conflicts with confidence and improve your relationships in the process? In this AG Thrive newsletter, Dr. Andy and Coach Paul talk about resolving conflicts in constructive ways that are designed to help you actually use conflict as a radical tool for growth - that can and will enhance the quality of your relationships (I promise it is possible!!).
Avoiding Conflict Doesn’t Solve Anything - Conflicts are a natural part of life, and unavoidable. While it may feel easier to avoid that difficult conversation with your family, friend, or coworker, it usually means the issues will only show up again in the future. The goal is rather to navigate disagreements by asserting yourself and your needs confidently. Learning assertive communication skills, as well as being clear on your own values, is the first step in resolving conflict.
Your Needs Are Important – We see many loving and caring people give away their rights when they place others needs before their own. This often can happen when one person fears abandonment or loss, and the other may have a need to win, especially in an argument. The first person will submit to the desires of the other to save the relationship, but ends up losing respect and love in the long run. A healthy individual speaks up for their needs, and knows that their opinions and feelings are valuable, even if it risks the possibility of disagreement or conflict.
Learn Your Communication Style – There are four main communication styles that we all use. Some of us are prone to respond with one more than the other, but it’s common to use more than one. The four most common styles of communicating are: Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, and Assertive. The first three are the least helpful, while Assertive communication is the most effective way to ask for your needs and values while continually promoting self-respect. Ask yourself, how do you typically respond to others requests or demands? Do you find that you are more bullish in your approach to getting your needs met (aggressive), or more people pleasing (passive)? Do you hide behind humor or sarcasm instead of telling someone how you really feel (passive-aggressive), or can you speak clearly and directly while advocating for your needs without apology and simultaneously demonstrating respect for the needs of the person you are communicating with (assertive)?
Set Healthy Boundaries – Once you learn your communication style and begin speaking with assertiveness, you can also set proper boundaries with others. Boundary setting and assertive communication are the keys to resolving conflicts. Learning what you will tolerate and what you simply won’t accept help develop healthy boundaries in your life, and speaking assertively allows you to communicate your boundaries to others. If you feel constantly mistreated in relationships or by family members, firm your boundaries and learn that the most loving thing you can do is sometimes saying “No.”
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