Becoming Closer While Having Conflict
Conflicts and disagreements are a normal experience in all relationships, but at times these can leave people feeling disconnected, in pain, frustrated, or sad, creating an emotional scar in the relationship. Yet, it is possible to have arguments in which people feel acknowledged, heard, and even loved. The negative outcome in conflict is the result of ignoring the most important aspect of what happens during the argument. It is not a matter of agreeing with the other person, but one of expression and attention.
It is common for people to spend time focusing on what was said or done. They go back and forth re-telling these events because it is the concrete thing that they have experienced. Just like the tip of an iceberg above surface, it is easy to see. Meanwhile, deep inside there is so much more going on, just like the portion of the iceberg that we cannot see from above. People have a hard time exposing their emotions, mostly when feeling vulnerable. Although, if we allow the opposite party to dive in and explore the bottom of the iceberg, they can gain more understanding on what is truly happening emotionally and mentally. And this is only possible by communicating to the other party that you possess a bigger portion than just the tip of the iceberg. Therefore, you will need to grant them the opportunity to explore the deep portion of your iceberg, just like a diver needs a diving certification to enter the ocean. This certification is the equivalent of trust, permitting you to feel safe to open up and share the emotions that are influencing your point of view in the argument.
In essence, when having conflicts or arguments the key to having a positive outcome will be by reversing the way you are perceiving the issue. In other words, focusing on the bottom of the iceberg first, instead of the tip. Sharing your feelings and how the issue impacts you will grant the other party understanding on your position about the issue.
In the event that you find yourself having an argument with someone follow these steps:
- Recognize how the issue impacts you
- Pause to prevent immediate responses to take over
- Turn within to recognize the emotions you are having
- Inform the other party that you want to share what is going deep within you and grant them the opportunity to dive in to become aware of your perspective and emotions
- Reciprocate by asking the other party to let you dive in for you to also gain awareness of their perspective and emotions