By Kristen Katchadourian

Kristen KatchadourianConflict is a reality in all our lives. It’s a natural progression in any relationship and every season. Rather than avoiding conflict, what’s important is choosing ahead of time how we are going to respond when it arises. Conflict is about seeking understanding. A conflict arises when there is lack of understanding from two or more people. When given this opportunity there are 5 steps to implement that will encourage growth and connection, rather than strife and separation.

Step 1: Humble yourself. Conflict is like a wall between two perspectives. You are on your side, are on theirs. Your side is not the only side.

Step 2: Seek to understand. Come out from your side of the wall and ask if you can go over to theirs. Ask them to explain what they see. Ask clarifying questions when you don’t understand. Ask how they feel and what their thoughts are. Seeking to understand their side may open new possibilities.

Step 3: Communicate your perspective. Ask if they are willing to come to your side and see from your perspective. Explain objectively with the goal of connection and clarity, rather than the need to be right. Ask if there is something that’s not being translated clearly or effectively for them.

Step 4: Forgive. Forgive and ask for specific forgiveness if/when needed. Forgiveness is not always because someone did something wrong. It can also be useful to us even when someone simply had a different perspective or communication we perceived as hurtful.

Step 5: Hug it out (if appropriate)! Physical connection lowers blood pressure and stress by releasing Oxycontin and re-unites us to one another to continue in creating something new.

Commit to connect before a conflict arises. When you find yourself offended and defending your stance to be right, understand that it may be poking at a wound in your own heart and it’s time to address it. When we can learn to observe ourselves from the inside rather than react from what we are experiencing, it will help us to maintain harmony in our relationships. Choose love.