Video and transcribe available below

Dealing with conflict

Hello it’s Dr Ro. I wanted to tackle the subject of conflict.

I do get into arguments and conflict and have on occasions, challenging or high-volume discussions is another word I use for them with people close to me, this is not me talking to you as like I’m in a place and it never happens. 

However, I do use certain tools to step back and give me a chance to at least understand what’s going on.

If you’re in a situation and let’s face it, there is tension escalating around the country around the globe right now, but if you take it down to a macro level people are tired and a lot of people are locked in, locked down, frustration is bubbling, and people’s perspectives have changed a lot.

I think what Covid has done has really created quite big divides in families and communities we see on social media and those that believe in masks those that don’t believe in masks, those that believe in vaccination those that don’t. 

Those that believe that the government shouldn’t have been so strict and those that believe the government should be stricter and it goes on and on. I think this backdrop of tension and the frustration building up inside people is coming out into everyday conversations and added to that may be too much screen time, people not sleeping enough et cetera I think is building up. 

I wanted to give you four things here that I think would be really useful and if you actually approach this from an honest perspective and I mean, literally you step back and say okay let me be bloody truthful. If you’re in a situation or it’s happening at the moment to the first question is this, what is this conflict about? 

Is this about you being right and them being wrong is this about your ego? 

It happens to all of us, especially blokes but we kick back because we hear something, we disagree with it we’re not sure entirely what the person is saying and instead of coming at it in a logical and rational way and hopefully a sense of wisdom it’s like boom or it escalates. Then it becomes a pattern of constant similar type of dialogue and each time you just want to reinforce the fact that you are correct, this conflict comes in. the first thing to do when you get to a situation where there’s conflict ask yourself a sincere question and the question is am I having this conversation, this conflict am I literally coming up with an opposite view to this person just simply because I want to be right, they annoy me and I have to be right in every situation? 

It’s about you trying to prove your self-worth, ego there are a whole bunch of other reasons and attachments to that. If it is ego and you being right, then you won’t get any kind of conflict resolution. If this is about you being right, you have to humble yourself step back and ask some serious questions such as, do I actually need to be right? 

Why is it important I feel I have to be right in this situation? 

Is it about my self-worth, is there another area of my life right now I’m feeling challenged with and actually it’s coming out in every other area because I don’t feel so valued here, or my self-worth is low in this area. 

At least I can stamp my mark here and make myself feel powerful. We’re talking now about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and this need for a human being to feel important. 

Number two, you’re just feeling right now emotionally charged are you finding that you’re bringing to every conversation a whole heap of baggage?

So you’re tired, you put the phone down to one person, you come off a really kind of frustrating annoying zoom call and then you go into another call another meeting, another conversation and all that’s bubbling up so you’re emotionally charged. You bring that with it’s not your ego you are tired, you are pissed off, you’ve had enough and it’s spewing out onto your kids, your husband or wife or in the business place as well. Before we try to find a solution to a conflict or the next time you go into a conflict we’ve got to take the mirror out first, take a look at ourselves and say is that about me?

My personal view 70, 75, 80% of the time that’s actually that’s the case for a lot of people because we all have stuff going on. Sometimes we can bring that stress into other situations so the first questions are about you, ego but also what about emotional baggage and frustration. Are you a pressure cooker waiting to explode? 

Third one, is it important? 

Is it really that important that you continue these dialogues if they’re constantly exploding or you’re finding you’re having these explosive conversations? You’ve heard the phrase choose your battles, are they really worth the energy, the dialogue? 

Because the amount of time you might spend having these head-butting competitions with people if you removed it and added it up, it could be hours but it is also the emotional discharge that comes off the back of it and then the feeling it leaves with the other person as well. I often say to people how important these conversations are or are you nit-picking conversations to try and expand it up to then, suddenly, lead to number one. I’ve got to be right about the situation? 

The final thing, and this is a tool I want to suggest you look at playing with that’s a perspective shift. 

One of the archetypes is the magician, so what you can do in a conversation whilst in a conflict is you shift perspective and look at it from the perspective of the magician. The magician comes up with creative ideas they pull magic out the hat float around and maybe wave their wand in the conversation to bring a different perspective to the situation, to change the way they understand even to the point floating to the other person’s body and saying how does it feel to be this person I’m having a conflict with? What if I was just for a moment to take their point of view and imagine I’m looking at myself person, who is that person shouting at me? That’s myself and moving back out again. 

Or maybe being what Deepak Chopra calls, a silent witness just quietly visualising this argument going on. If you can actually do it whilst you’re face-to-face with somebody that’s really powerful it’s a process that I’ve learned to do over the years. I do it so people live on stage, but if not, think back to a conflict you’re having a conversation and just rerun it like a movie but float out and watch yourself in that conflict and start to imagine what could be done differently. 

How could you articulate differently? 

What could you say differently to shift the emphasis and de-pressurise that conversation? 

Dr Ro signing out.

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