Conflict: How to make peace with an upset customer, lover, or friend - Sage B. Hobbs

For many people, conflict is scary.  Conflict is yucky. And yet, conflict is unavoidable.  

If we’re alive, living in the world with others, conflict happens. Here’s a story about how conflict showed up hugely in my life.

When I was a school counselor I became a talented lion tamer.  In other words, I honed my skills at de-escalating very upset parents.  Parents are like lions, fiercely protective and aggressive when necessary.  I know, I am one.  Early in my career, I was terrified of parents walking into my office upset or angry. However, I quickly learned that in order to be successful in supporting my students, I needed to work effectively with their parents. So I learned how to quiet a lion’s roar.

How would your life be different if you were a conflict resolution super star? Click here to post a comment on my FB page.  I promise will read every single one. And if we haven’t yet connected on FB, please like.

Below you’ll find 3 ways to approach conflict that will help everyone involved feel better after it’s over.

Conflict happens in our partnerships, in our work, with our children, in our community, and all around us.  A daily one for me sounds like, “Please brush your teeth,” directed at my 5 year old.  The responses range from “in a minute,” to “no thank you.”  Depending on how tuned in I am in that moment, my response also ranges from productive to “wildly frustrated mom breathing fire.”  I aim for the former, but human happens.

Here are 3 strategies to handle conflicts in your life:

  1. Listen.  Obnoxiously simple, I know.  However, we generally suck at it.  When we’re really listening, we’re not planning our next point, or thinking how idiotic they are, or daydreaming of happier times.  When we really listen, we hear what they say as true and real, because for them it is.  Because here’s the thing: Their experience is their truth.  Truth is subjective.  We experience life only clouded by our own experiences.
  2. Let them know you heard them.  If you were really listening, they will likely already feel heard.  But, since they may not be used to that feeling, you should be very clear.  Some starters are “I heard you say… and I understand that you are feeling…”  Human beings deeply want to be seen, heard, and understood.
  3. Own your part.  This can be challenging, and it’s essential.  If you want more peace with the people in your life, start looking at the ways that you contribute to the relationship.  For example, I have often said to my husband “I know I can be inpatient and it makes it difficult on our family.”  This requires vulnerability, and may trigger fear.  Yet, when you can own your part, you will have greater intimacy and smoother conflicts in your life.

As always, please share this with people in your life. You never know when something you give or say to someone will have a huge impact.

With love and gratitude,


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