True or not so true conflict story-telling
When we have had a dispute with another person, it is sometimes the case that the facts about what happened become distorted. This depends for instance, on how hurt and offended we feel, our relationship with the other person, our mood that day including extraneous matters that affect us and a host of other influences. Such factors have an impact on the ‘spin’ we convey to others on what transpired such as what we said and what the other person said. How we wished we had responded gets mixed with how we did respond. If we have trouble letting go or mending the situation, our emotional reactions often grow and can embellish or exaggerate our perspective on the situation, the other person and ourselves. We may also tend to play down our own contribution, as we hear ourselves speak our truths and our untruths.
What we do in response to conflict and how we do it are our own personal ways of managing each specific dispute with the specific person. Though our perceptions are our realities, we may be able to step back and gain different viewpoints that open up the possibilities for us and our relationships. Reflecting back in objective ways help to shift our approach. That is, one way of developing conflict mastery is to think carefully about the truths of what occurred and how acknowledging different realities changes our way forward.
Consider a dispute that has already occurred and which you realize you were not totally truthful about it, as you answer this week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions):
- What happened from your perspective in that dispute? (Describe the details as you recall them – what you said/did and what the other person said/did.)
- In what ways would the other person’s version differ from yours?
- What is not exactly true about your description?
- What is going on for you about that/those things?
- What are some other truths that you may be reluctant to express?
- What do you suppose led you to distort the real truths?
- What feelings are you not expressing about what occurred?
- What do those feelings reflect about your true self in this conflict situation?
- What do you wish you had said or done in that situation?
- What truths do you know now that were not clear when you first started to answer this set of questions?
What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add to this list?