Conflict, of course!
So, I started thinking about a productive relationship mindset on how to engage when there’s conflict, so you don't miss the opportunity a breakdown offers while the conflict is happening. A mindset that shifts from stewing about it, to doing something about it. Breakdowns can be startling disruptions in your usual, standard way of operating. They often throw you into unknown territory and create discomfort, but remember they are also calling you to solve a problem, make a new decision, affirm an existing path, or evolve.
When you have a breakdown in a relationship, you find out if the connection is sustainable. It mystifies me a little when people who have been together for a while say they never disagree or have an argument. I don't doubt what people tell me, yet it doesn't seem real that I would always agree with someone else in my circle of family, friends, and work life. I know it’s not a goal to have conflict in relationships! But maybe we have to learn how to have healthy arguments. They’re good for you! And may be exactly what you need to evolve.
The Latin origin of the word argues, argumentum, means to make clear. You may be very good at making things clear but not great at leaving room for others to express their clarity. Then, instead of a breakthrough, you create a protracted contest of winning and losing arguments.
Here are my 4 rules for dealing with conflict or disagreement:
Conveniently the above creates an acronym CALL so it’s easy to remember. Breakdowns in a relationship reveal the truth about who you are, what you think, and what you value. Breakdowns are a CALL to act with courage to speak and courage to listen, to take accountability and give up blame, and learn about yourself and the other person.
When you turn your relationship breakdowns into conversations for possibilities, connection and appreciation deepen, creating an unbreakable bond. Your arguments evolve into conversations that bring awareness, forgiveness, solutions, and gratitude. Breakdowns happen to develop relationships and create a bond that transcends time and circumstances. Otherwise, breakdowns can signal the end.
May your relationships bring transformation.
Paulette Sun Davis