Every day is an enlightening journey. There are conflicts for every single person on this earth. The way those conflicts gets resolved are usually up to how an individual perceives possible solutions. I have a very good friend who lives several states away from me. Everything in her life is full of drama. She is doing her best to turn things around but Murphy’s Law just won’t let her catch a break. Recently, her car overheated, her job is twenty miles away from where she’s living, she owes more on her car than she can make up for and her life is frustrating on many different levels for her. She is full of conflicts. She called me this morning and said she was “tired of trying. ” The light that’s left in her life is getting dimmer and dimmer and she is losing every last shred of hope that she has clung to for a long time. She can’t see the things that are positive in her life right now. All she sees is conflict with very little to no resolutions.
In my job I deal with conflict and resolutions on a daily basis. The world of Self Storage is interesting. You don’t just rent units and get to know your customers, you are taking care of the things that are precious in their lives. Even though the facility isn’t responsible if items get damaged, it is my responsibility to keep my customers happy and to feel that it isn’t just a company I represent but that I treat every single person who walks through my door with respect and compassion. Those are traits that are disappearing in today’s world.
Over the years, I’ve learned that people struggle with conflict every day and many of them seek to find positive resolutions. I’ve often heard the phrase that “no decision becomes a decision.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. When we have conflict in our lives, we make decisions on how to deal with those conflicts. Our decisions or lack of decisions can often have positive or negative impacts depending on how we deal with the conflict at hand.
The medical community deals with conflicts with patients and insurance all the time. I’ve fallen in love with shows like the “Good Doctor and New Amsterdam”. While these shows are fictional, many of the stories that they tell are based off of real life problems. They give just a taste of some of the dynamics at play and show how people make decisions that can affect others for the rest of their lives, no matter how long or short they may be given.
One of the biggest reasons for conflict is a lack of listening and communication. This is a huge problem. Most businesses follow a chain of command. Those at the top rarely listen to what the day to day workers see and hear. They depend on their managers and many times, that can be very dangerous. Managers get incentives and bonuses that most hourly employees don’t get. There is a lot of jealousy from the regular workers because they do a lot of the work while the managers get to ream many benefits from that work. That’s not always true but there are a lot of places where this happens. Sometimes managers abuse their power. When that happens, employees might be afraid to report the issues because they don’t want to lose their job. There may be a confidentiality code in many businesses but invariably leaks occur and whistle blowers are not always treated well. In fact, they are risking a lot to come forward. Sexual harassment is one area that has received a lot of attention over the years and rightly so. Yet, in this age of the #Me-too movement, lies an overwhelming need to protect certain people in power. The conflict then becomes how do victims not feel like they are being ostracized for coming forward? There’s no easy solutions. But the fact that it is sparking a nationwide conversation about victims is a step in the right direction.
There’s also the conflict that happen with young men who are falsely accused of sex crimes (or any crime) that they didn’t commit and yet are forced to serve time behind bars because young girls claim they molested them only to tell the truth years later that it never happened. Those men (and women) who were falsely accused can not get those years back. They will forever have their legacies tainted by misinformation and yet the people who lied, rarely, have to pay the consequences of their actions. I know of one young man who is living with this issue. The law isn’t perfect. No one is. But the fact that the lies are constantly told in order to gain what someone wants is disturbing. It’s in every profession, in many relationships, and many different aspects of our lives. We deal with our own conflict in ways we never even thought of previously.
So what are some of the best ways to turn conflicts into resolutions? Well, for starters, what’s the conflict? Identifying the problem is a key step to figuring out a solution. Sounds simple right? In theory this may be true but sometimes in reality it can be more complex. For example, if a patient is suffering for symptoms that a physician doesn’t regularly deal with, it may cause that physician to do more research on methods that can help the patient. Doctors can often get a bad rap. Sometimes it’s deserved but other times people assume that doctors have it easy. They don’t. They have to worry about being sued, malpractice, keeping patients safe and healthy, dealing with family dynamics, patient confidentiality, etc.,. Unless you are a physician or a medical professional, or live with one, you may not fully comprehend the same levels of conflicts that these men and women deal with on a regular basis. The same is true for any field that high stress is involved. Most of my classmates in high school are making six figures a year and have aged so much that it isn’t funny. They deal with the stress of making sure their employees and families are doing a good job or keeping appearances up. To them, conflict is something that they don’t let the world see they deal with. If you are a person who can mask that, I commend you because not everyone has that skill.
After you identify what the conflict is that you deal with, is it truly a conflict or a dilemma? Can the conflict be overlooked? Is it something that is being made out to be bigger than it truly is? These are the types of questions that need to be addressed. If we can’t figure out how serious the conflict is, then we won’t be able to see past it.
If there’s more than one party involved in the conflict, request solutions from those involved. Sometimes it’s a smart move to ask an outsider’s point of view. Tempers can flare up in ways that we can’t always explain. I have some friends who get angry over little things and often, they just need someone who will listen. They have a tendency to make the little things big things.
Figure out an agreement that everyone involved can live with. In a perfect world there would be no fighting, no disagreements and no drama but that world doesn’t exist. In a way I’m grateful about that because if we didn’t disagree with one another, then we wouldn’t see the world in different views.
These are just a few things that can be used to assist with conflicts but remember to stay calm. Getting agitated only leads to more conflicts. When we are agitated or flustered we do things that have the potential to create more conflict. Once things leave our mouths out of anger, we can’t take those words back. Stay calm and if you have to deal with conflict, take a step back so that you can use a clearer mind to find the best resolution possible.