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3 Tips for Healthier Conflict Resolution

We have already touched on common conflict mistakes here. But, what about solutions!? What can one do to prevent or alleviate those mistakes? Well don't fret; we have three tips that are guaranteed to help in any conflict.

1. Name the story you're telling yourself.

Our brains are constantly creating stories by which to interpret the world around us. It's as natural as eating and breathing. You see a car cruising by going at a very high speed and your brain creates a story in which the driver is hurrying to work, is impatient, is in an emergency, etc. The context and your own values, experiences, upbringing, and other beliefs determine the type of story you're creating. But regardless, it's a story. It's our subjective reality. We need to create stories in order to survive. Our brain needs the story in order to know how to act or not act in any given situation.

Conflict situations are no different. What's so important to keep in mind however is that...

The way we interpret a situation (our internal stories) will always hold more weight in our minds than the situation itself.

In conflicts, our stories carry even more weight in our minds due to emotions. Emotions in a conflict both arise from the story we tell ourselves and reinforce it. They serve to add weight to the story's "truth". Your partner is late for a date and it's not the first time. You're maybe angry, hurt, and or annoyed. The brain then creates a story that serves to justify that emotion....

"He's late because cares more about work than me."

However, the stories we tell ourselves are NEVER completely true. To resolve conflicts, it's vital that we first acknowledge to ourselves what is the story we are telling ourselves about a situation and accept that we may be wrong.


Because without that acknowledgment, we are likely to begin a conflict conversation with an attack or judgment. This immediately puts the other person on the defensive. The temptation in any conflict will be to indulge the stories we are telling ourselves by enacting those stories. In the above scenario, when your partner shows up late you might want to say...

"You're late yet again. You obviously don't care about me."

You've now forced your story upon the other person. They will automatically become defensive and the conflict will become more difficult to resolve. Not to mention your story may be completely different from their intentions. So what can we do instead? Take some of the power of the story away. How? By simply naming it as a story. In the above conflict, you could open by telling your partner that...

"You've shown up late for our dates multiple times, the story that I'm telling myself is you don't care about our relationship."


"Why is it that you are showing up late to our dates often? I'm telling myself it's because you don't care about us. Is that true?"

These slight shifts require vulnerability and that goes a long way to soften the tension. It leaves space for the other person to express empathy and not feel attacked. This brings us to our next tip...

2. Label your emotions and intentions, and acknowledge theirs.

What happens when we get wrapped up in our own stories? We end up trying to win a fight. We will do and say whatever it takes to justify the story we are telling ourselves. To do so we will try to control the conflict. This will often take on the form of labeling the other person's emotions and intentions for them while often ignoring our own.

"You just love to always nag me about picking up my clothes"

What does it look like if you instead start by acknowledging their emotions and intentions and then label your own?

"I hear you when you say clothes on the ground cause you stress. For me, I leave them on the floor because I'm super exhausted and I know I'll get to them later when I'm rested. When you bring it up, I get more stressed and I feel myself getting resentful."

The second approach is likely always going to be more lengthy and requires us to put aside our reactionary responses. Not easy, but definitely worth the effort. Both tips 1 and 2 will be like trying to learn and speak a new language at first. It's going to take a while before you can get fluent, but don't give up!

3. Identify who you want to be.

In every conflict, ask yourself, 'Who do I want to be in this moment?' Your values and aspirations are your true north. When you align your actions and responses with the person you aspire to be, you not only resolve the conflict more effectively but also strengthen the foundation of your relationship. It's not about winning or losing; it's about becoming the best version of yourself.

To practice this, ask yourself "Who do I want to be in this moment?" Then enter (or reenter) the situation with the intention to be that person. What does this look like?

Imagine a heated argument happening with your partner. You are extremely frustrated. You feel the emotions of the moment very strongly. That's the sign. Take a moment to collect yourself. Maybe even ask/suggest to the other person that you take a break. Then ask yourself who you want to be in this moment. One that I like to go with is, "I want to be trusting of my partner right now. I want to trust that they love me." Take time to really feel that intention. Make it real inside you. Then reenter the conversation and I guarantee you will experience a shift.

Take these tips with you and practice them. They will not be easy to do at first, but keep on trying until they become more natural. Share the tips with your partner. You'll find conflicts will be so less focused on winning and more so on trusting each other.

Ready to turn these insights into action or discover how personalized coaching can enhance your relationships & your life?

The first step toward positive change is just one email away. 🌟📩


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