I am not perfect, none of us are, but we can help each other to be the best version of ourselves. Conflict is unavoidable, particularly in charged times. For me, the best version of myself in these situations is to be someone who stands in my truth, shares of my experiences, feelings, and reactions, and approaches the conflict with an open heart. If I can do that, then I have done the best that I can do. I am not always successful, but I try.
I know we're quickly reaching the point where some of the ways we address conflict is becoming steeped (in the negative connotation) in SJW approaches, and that nonviolent communication has become twisted to be a tool of manipulation. And yet, some of the tools are still valid.
We must acknowledge the truth of a person's experience, whether we agree with their interpretation of it or not. Validate their experience as true for them. Do not negate it with "I don't think that is what it means/what I did/what I intended", even if that is true for you. Acknowledge harm, even if you can't see how your behavior harmed them. Avoid apologies that begin with "I am sorry if..."
If you validate someone's experience and apologize for harm done, only then can the possibility of a resolution be achieved. Only then should you share your perspective and experience. Hopefully the other party will also be able to acknowledge your truth (though of course the degree of harm is going to impact this, and never should someone who has been harmed in a direct way be required to forgive and to accept the other person's perspective). Then we can move forward into repairing/healing/making amends. Both parties have a deeper understanding of the other person, deepening relationships and strengthening community.
Step 1: Validate and Acknowledge
Step 2: Apologize
Step 3: If there is something specific you need to do or make amends for, do it
Step 4: Do not repeat the harm
Step 5: (if invited) Share your experience
Step 6: Then have a conversation about your different perspectives and experiences
Step 7: Agree on a way to move forward/on a resolution
Conflict resolution is going to be a theme of discussion at Many Gods West this year - there is one workshop specifically on it, and a couple of sessions about resiliency which will likely pull in conflict resolution.
These are hard times, we are all struggling, and being present for one another is definitely a hard thing when we are all taxed. It is a skill, like most things, and we can develop it together.
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