Character Creates Opportunity® – Understanding: Thursday, December 1, 2016

As our world continues to grow more complex and intense, there continues to be plenty of fertile ground for conflict.

Global conflict is one thing, but we also see it in the workplace as competition and disruption seems to increase all around our once isolated business creating tension in the workplace.  We see it in our communities as random acts of violence have seemed to replace the random acts of kindness we use to hear so much about.  All of these factors inevitably impact families, which already have their own unique set of potential flash points, creating a genuine opportunity for increased conflict in the home.

Although life has plenty of areas for conflict, the timeless truth is that family conflict is one of the most heart-breaking of all of life’s struggles.

With the holiday season upon us, there is usually an opportunity to be a bit reflective on the hope for greater peace and less conflict in our everyday lives and especially in families gathering for the holidays.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, understanding is the critical element to preventing and resolving most interpersonal conflict.  Understanding should be at the forefront of our decisions before we decide to break things and walk away.

To the family member we don’t see, hear, or care much about anymore, is it possible we misunderstood her or she misunderstood us?  Did we just let other’s opinions form our own view of why tension and isolation remain?

To the friction in the office, where we all have learned to play the game and suppress the tension, is it possible that the rationale behind the tension is based on a misunderstanding? Did we simply lack all the information?

Before these wounds continue to break up relationships, burn bridges, ruin the productivity of the team, or create massive indigestion at the next family gathering, here are a few ways to improve health while addressing the disease of misunderstanding that plagues so much of interpersonal conflict.Shaking hand on the green background

  1. Ask ourselves, “What if I misunderstood something?” Simply asking ourselves this question will bring about a pause before we act.
  2. Work to gain some perspective. We see the world as we are, not as the world is.  It is important to ensure our limited, prior experiences and biases don’t cloud the reality that is in front of us.
  3. Be proactive in asking for help. “Help me understand a little better what just happened…or Help me understand what happened 20 years ago to create such a rift.”

Understanding is the gateway to peace in our relationships.

As we become intentional about first understanding before we break things or shut down relationships, we build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to bring health into our most important relationships.