Do you deny or minimize problems? Do you avoid conflict? Are you afraid to confront issues? Are you not sure how to communicate about difficult subjects? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. Many people never learned communication skills to work through challenges because it wasn’t modeled or taught to us.
To work through challenges, it’s important to acknowledge, name and claim them and then begin to change them. It’s essential to understand we cannot change another person. We can only communicate how we feel, what we need and set boundaries.
By not dealing with the problem and acting like it isn’t there, we are continuing the pattern for generations to come. It’s not too late to break an unhealthy cycle. It’s important to attempt this with safe people.
1. Acknowledge, name and claim. Take time to write out your feelings to get clarity before attempting to communicate or resolve the conflict. Explore what might be the root of the issue on your own to gain a deeper understanding. This will give you confidence to confront issues.
2. Set boundaries. It’s important that you have boundaries for yourself. Don’t take on responsibility for things that are not yours to own. Sometimes we tend to take on too much or too little responsibility. Write out how you think you contributed to the issue so you can set appropriate boundaries.
3. Generate possible solutions or options. Try to brainstorm possible solutions by making a list of pro’s and con’s of each idea. Be open to hearing and listening in order to understand both sides.
4. Explore your intentions. It’s important to look at your expectations and intentions. Are you wanting the other person to change? Is the goal to speak your truth with love and grace so you feel better and try to resolve the issue? Confronting issues means to attempt to bridge over and understand where the other person is coming from.
5. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Start by saying, “I feel____ because____. I need_______.” If we start off with a “You should, you never, you always…” it will NOT go well. It will only create defensiveness.