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4 Steps to Turn Conflict into Opportunity

July 2020

In all relationships, there are cycles. Friendships, marriages, professional and even the connection to ourselves have fluidity and are impacted by so much. Can you think of one long term relationship in your life right now? Notice how it has fluctuated over the years and what caused these changes to happen.

In recent months, people are being pushed to the limits of understanding and compassion as the topics of racism and personal accountability are top of heart and mind for us all.

In the past, conflictual interactions have left me feeling frustrated and helpless. If I couldn’t understand another person's perspective or I felt incapable of communicating my experience to find resolutions. Judgement would quickly creep in so I could feel justified; but the conflict remained unresolved and the connection was broken. In some relationships, I would fall into unhealthy patterns of avoiding conversation altogether!

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, it is my passion to help others find opportunities to bridge differences for deeper connection and understanding. I specialize in navigating the cultural and racial dynamics that divide us. Particularly with these sensitive topics, I have developed a process that can transform how you relate to conflict.

Give these steps a try and comment on your experience below! And, if you’re interested in transforming conflict in your life, check out my 5-week course, The Embodied Path: Your Blueprint for Practicing Presence to Experience the Life you Desire. Through this five-week course you will undoubtedly make shifts on an individual level and the ripple effects will permeate all relationships in your life. 

4 Steps to Turn Conflict into Opportunity

1. Acknowledge the core issue. Conflicts are complex, often involving intertwined issues. Trying to address them all at once leads to frustration and no resolve. When you become gridlocked in the discussion, step back and untangle things a bit. Get clear about the various areas of conflict so you can address each issue individually.

2. Bring a Compassionate Presence. Conflict cannot be resolved without vulnerability on all sides. If you trust the person is engaging with positive intention you have more patience, you listen deeper and get more curious. Conflict is navigated when each person shows up with compassionate presence and does their best to consider the other perspectives shared.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Gaslighting is real and has to be addressed for all people to be served. Personal accountability allows for healthy resolution.

3. Take Your Time. Want to know a common theme that escalates conflicts? URGENCY! We are often so intent on fixing the problem that we rush the process. Navigating conflict takes time. If we skip to resolution, we will miss key factors and the exterior resolution becomes a time bomb for the next relational rupture. If emotions are running high, find time to take it slow and pause the conversation until everyone has cooled down.

4. Seek Peace, Take Action. If appropriate, agree on actions for resolution—and be specific. Make a plan for a check-in if it feels supportive. But what about conflicts without any clear resolution? Oftentimes, not feeling deeply heard or seen is the source of conflict. Through this communication process, no other actions need to be taken.

If the conflict is complex and systemic, we may find there is nothing that can immediately be done. When this is the case, examine what it means to be at peace with where the situation stands.

Deanna Jimenez, LMFT

My life's passion is to support you becoming the architect of your ever-evolving life. I specialize in illuminating the intersection of your natural talents and your soul's calling to live a life deeply aligned with purpose and contribution. 

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