When you meet someone to resolve a conflict, you first have to confess your part of the problem. Then you need to listen for the other person’s hurt and perspective.
In every conflict—from our personal & work relationships to politics—we think we argue over ideas. But we actually argue over emotion. Anytime there’s a conflict, someone’s feelings were hurt; somebody felt abused or slighted. It’s not the idea that causes the conflict. It’s the emotion behind the idea.
Hurt people hurt people. The more someone is experiencing hurt, the more likely they are to lash out at everyone else. People who aren’t experiencing hurt don’t hurt others. People who are filled with love are loving toward others. People who are filled with joy are joyful toward others. People who are filled with peace are at peace with everybody else. But people who are filled with hurt are going to hurt others. They’re going to lash out.
If you want to connect with people, you must start with their hurts, their needs, and their interests. If you want to be a good salesperson, you don’t start with your product. You start with your customer’s hurts, needs, and interests. So, don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
In times of conflict, are you often so busy trying to get others to see your position that you don’t listen to theirs? When each person is just speaking and not listening, you move further and further away from each other emotionally.
Instead, you need to intentionally switch your focus from your needs to their needs. Conflict resolution starts with the way you look at the situation. Focus on the hurts of somebody else rather than your own.
There’s a proverb that says, “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.” When you’re focused on the other person’s needs and not your own, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of the situation and move forward with resolving your conflict.
Now, let me ask you a few questions to help you practice resolving your conflict:
- How do you think it affects the other person when you start conflict resolution with confession rather than accusations?
- What are some ways that you can practice showing concern for others’ needs, even when you’re not in the middle of a conflict?
- How do you need to prepare yourself before you go into conflict resolution so that you are prepared to listen and focus on the other person?