Three ways to bring peace into a conflict

Genuinely listen to the other person

We often speak to be understood, not to understand. Listening to another person’s viewpoint, even if you don’t agree, does not diminish you or your viewpoint. Most issues are not black or white, they are in fact quite complex. Listening to alternate points of view can help you to gain a greater understanding of the different facets to the issue. Listening to an alternate viewpoint will make you appear open minded to the other person. This creates an invitation for that person to reciprocate and listen to you with an open mind. Your views may not change but you increase the possibility that you will at least find some common ground. Remember, everyone sees the world through a different filter, based on his or her personality and experiences in life.

Don’t make it personal

If we care enough to disagree then the issue is important to us and is likely to touch on an important value we hold. In these circumstances we often confuse the issue with the person. Instead of debating the issue with reasoned arguments and evidence, we feel under attack on a personal level and respond with personal attacks. Once this happens we are unlikely to reach any understanding on the issue and put the relationship itself at risk. Remind yourself that although the issue is important, it is not worth damaging relationships. Treat the other person with respect as you stay focused on the issue, show them how you want to be treated. If they don’t respond take note of the next point.

Know when to disengage

Sometimes people get caught up in their issue and it doesn’t matter what you say or do. They continue to aggressively push the issue wanting you to agree with them or back down from your own argument. I would recommend that you disengage at this point. There is nothing to be gained by continuing. It is time to agree to disagree, at least for now. If someone continues to argue I will say “I am not going to argue with you” in a neutral but firm tone. Sometimes you might need to physically move away from the person in order to diffuse the situation. It takes a great deal of effort to keep control of your emotions and stay respectful when the other person is not reciprocating. Don’t forget, your self-care is important. After the conflict, take the time to do an activity that relaxes or refreshes you. This will help you to maintain your own emotional equilibrium.

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  1. Francesca Verri Gove

    Love these tips!! And love your mission. I often wonder the same thing — why don’t we learn the critical skills needed to function well with ourselves and others? Happy to see you are working to actively change that. <3 Francesca

    1. Anna Clark Post author

      Thank you for your comment Francesca. It’s great to be part of a community aimed at making the world a better place, each with a unique approach.