The Need to Know We Matter – Character Creates Opportunity®: Thursday, June 9, 2022

Sustained conflict in the home is one of the most heart-breaking of all conflicts.

The reality is that sustained conflict in the home is rarely one-sided…it usually takes “two to tango” as the saying goes.

When well-educated academics and kitchen table psychologists get to the bottom of these sustained conflicts in the home, they usually land on the truth that there has been a slowly widening gap in what we all know is the fundamental need of all of us, to know that we matter to another person – that someone has chosen us over anything else.

We all know we violate this need every time we fail to give our full attention to someone, glance at our phone while in conversation, quickly dismiss or not even acknowledge the person’s point of view, or flat out ignore them. These occasional missteps can usually be handled, but when we dissect sustained conflict in the home, these violations become a consistent pattern and create real barriers to healing and health in the relationships we care about most.

As our world continues to grow in complexity, we all have a tendency to think we need some new, brilliantly complex methodology to address the growing complexity around us. The truth is when things get too complex, we need to fall back on simple, direct and uncomplicated responses to be most effective.

Here are two simple and timeless steps to help build more compassion in the home and address some tough situations where sustained conflict has created real distance between those we care about most:

  1. Give someone your full attention. One of the most heart-warming ways to show someone they matter is to give them our full attention when we are with them. We need to be intentional and have some discipline to not let some other story start playing in our head when we sit with someone and just simply listen. There are also the obvious actions of keeping your phone down, stop glancing off in the distance, or preparing your response. Despite how smooth we think we are, we are all not good at hiding our distractions. Stay focused on the person who is with us in that moment. Being in the moment with them will make a big difference over time to heal some wounds.
  2. Take turns in the conversation. Some of us may have a tendency to steamroll our way through conversations. We see a real need to get our point across as some process of self-validation. We need to be intentional and have some discipline to simply shut up and take turns volleying back and forth in conversation so everyone can feel they are being heard. Simply working towards doing more listening than talking is a fantastic start. Acknowledging the conversation with the other person through an occasional head nod, direct eye contact, and a question or two to better understand their comments are some of the graduate-level actions we can take.

As we continue to work on making a positive impact in our home, work, and community, if we can become more intentional about making sure those around us feel they matter by simply listening and sharing the air during conversation, we will begin to head down a path of showing more compassion to help versus inflicting more pain. In addition, as we take this step, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and we will set a helpful example for others that Character Creates Opportunity to reach our full potential and make a positive impact on those around us.

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