It is in the fires of conflict that greater strength, trust, wisdom and closeness will be forged in your relationships.
Remember, conflict resolution is a skill to be learned, just like driving, reading, writing, etc, an essential skill to thriving relationships whether in business or personally.
Getting Started :
- Set aside some quiet uninterrupted time for yourself.
- Have your writing utensils, paper, pen, computer ready.
- Begin free writing in a journal to start, if necessary, to get the “juices” flowing
- List & write a letter to any or all of those you feel anger or resentment toward.
To work thru significant hurts entirely : each letter should contain these elements in this order.
As you get better at this & with smaller issues these steps will obviously be shortened and go faster. But in the beginning it is a good idea to make sure you have covered them all. ( If you cannot do this on your own, get help from qualified outside source )
Step 1 – Express your Anger, Hurt, Resentment and any Bitterness fully regarding hurtful or neglectful memories. Literally write (but don’t share yet) everything you’ve always wanted to say to them but never have or perhaps have before but still feel.
(remember this is not for their eyes so no holding back) Take as long as you want, go until you have no more to say and you feel literally like you have finally expressed everything. Again this is for your eyes only to be able to process.
Step 2 – Empathy – After and only after fully expressing your anger & hurt at all that you remember, take time to imagine what they must have gone thru to treat you that way? Remember “hurt people, hurt people” So can you reflect on what might have happened to them in their lifetimes? Their treatment of you is a reflection of what has happened or not happened to them.
Step 3 – Compassion – Can you now extend your heart in compassion to what they have created in their own lives by their hurtful treatment of you and others? ( i.e. Them missing out on all of the companionship, love and connection with you and kids over the last __ years? Missing out on the love & connection she could have enjoyed and how that time will never be reclaimed? How sad that is to have missed out on so much for such a long period of time and never to be recaptured, so then why would you want to impose any more pain on them right now? They by their own deeds have suffered enough separation, and guilt and missing out as a result of their own weaknesses and pain.
Step 4 – Forgiveness – So can you forgive them now? Their wrongs were done as a result of them trying to do their best with what they had with their own limitations and weaknesses. To forgive them would be to consciously release any anger, rage, bitterness or responsibility they have to you to make amends. It does not excuse their behavior, it frees you by releasing them. You grow past this to a stronger, more mature, more loving and compassionate. Your forgiveness of their hurtful behavior sets YOU free.
Step 5 – Ownership – Now take a look at how you chose to respond to their hurtful acts? Did you hurt back? By alienating them, thinking mean thoughts, shutting them out, retaliating in some way? Becoming disrespectful? deceitful? ungrateful? Tearing them down in some way with words or thoughts or deeds? Impatient? Unloving? Rude? Demanding? etc, What were your responses to them? And what role did you play in that dynamic? Did you remain silent about things you didn’t agree with or just not ask questions or look to resolve? Did you get your feelings hurt and just disappear or remove yourself in some way avoiding the conflict? Remember it takes 2, what part did you play that you can accept responsibility for? What response did you have to them that you are not proud of? These are the things that help you take responsibility and help change the dynamic of your relationships with them going forward and help insure you don’t re-create these dynamics with others in the future.
Step 6 – Apologies – Now that you have worked thru your anger, empathized, experienced a compassion for them, forgiven them and accepted responsibility for your part(s), keeping your eyes COMPLETELY on your part(s) ONLY, what can you apologize for? This apology is not for them but for you to close this chapter.
Step 7 – Re Affirm – Now to really close the chapter and turn the page and start fresh, mentally and verbally reaffirm your care and commitment to that person and the relationship. Again this is for you to be set free and move forward with peace.