How to Reduce Conflict and Improve Communications
One of my challenges in life has been related to controlling my tendency to react without effective problem-solving skill when I am disappointed or unhappy regarding a situation or the reactions of others. Most of us become upset when others intrude in our personal space, are inconsiderate or our needs, or disregard our personal boundaries. As a younger adult I had much more difficulty demonstrating self-control in these situations or controlling my ability to self-regulate. Although I have improved greatly in my ability to be productive, the world constantly presents challenges and it remains very difficult at times not to react. Even now there are times that I am disappointed with my responses and I work toward being more self-accepting, forgiving, and less critical of my imperfect responses or reactions. I am much better at not reacting externally in difficult situations; however, not reacting to strong emotions internally continues to be difficult.
I believe that it is our unrealistic expectations of ourselves and excessive self criticism which often makes it difficult for us to respond productively and be skillful in difficult situations. If we are criticized by another and have little or no self-criticism regarding the others comments we are not likely to have a strong emotional charge. On the other hand, if we are highly self critical regarding some aspect of ourselves and another attacks this aspect of ourselves we are much more likely to become unproductive and emotionally reactive. From this perspective, learning to compliment ourselves for our efforts, qualities, and skills can be very helpful. Developing a greater sense of self-acceptance will help protect us from being reactive and from the negative energy of others which becomes directed toward us.
Developing the ability to reframe a situation is likely to have a significant impact on our behavior and our ability to learn from a difficult situation. It is not always the situation but the way we interpret the situation that impacts how successfully we handle many challenges. Just developing the belief that a situation might be a learning possibility or experience might itself be enough to help us deal with the situation more productively and ease us internally. If we choose to focus on our behavior and our behavioral responses instead of attempting to control the other we are in a much better place to learn from our experience. It may be difficult at times to remember that we can't control the behavior of others. We do have the power to control our behavior and this will likely change the dynamic between ourselves and the other.
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