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5 Principles for Navigating Conflict

Dear Friends,

The path to reconciliation is never straightforward, as human relationships are complex and ever-changing. Creative engagement generates positive change, learning and growth. The next time you find yourself embroiled in conflict, recall these principles to help defuse the situation and facilitate your connectedness with others.

1. Give up blame. Blaming others exacerbates, rather than solves problems. Recognize and appreciate at all times that you alone are responsible for your interpretations and reactions to external situations.

2. Embrace choice. The truth is messy, raw and uncomfortable, but you always have a choice regarding your reactions to any situation. Alternatives are before you, so choose wisely.

3. Try a different approach. If your coping strategies prove ineffective, don’t be afraid to try different approaches. Then take a step back, and note their impact.

4. Seek to understand. Ask probing questions, and in addition to your five senses, listen with your heart. Slow down and be fully present to promote deeper understanding. You do not have to agree with another’s perspective, but it is important that you understand it.

5. Change yourself. You can’t change other people, but you can change yourself. Look inward and modify your own beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.

Relationship and interdependence lie at the heart of successfully bridging conflict. Your reactions can mean the difference between perpetuating strife or constructing more peaceful outcomes.

Until Next Time,

Mary

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