Conflict can be scary for many people. If you are one of those people, it can put you into Fight or Fright mode. Once your adrenalin kicks in, your frontal lobe is bypassed. This causes you to react in one of three ways: Fight, Freeze, or Flight.
We often fight if we feel criticized or threatened. We become defensive or we go on the offensive. Either way, we often say or do something that will damage our relationships. If we react in Fright, then we freeze or flee. We can freeze and feel paralyzed, not knowing what to say or do. That feeling can be more terrifying than any horror movie. We can flee, causing us to walk out of the room without any response. We may feel safer when we flee, but the conflict still lingers. Unresolved conflict can easily come up again in the next exchange we have with the person we are fighting with.
How can you respond instead of reacting? Here are three simple steps (the Three P’s):
Pause. Stop talking or doing ANYTHING. Take a breath, a long and deep one. If you need to, ask for a brief break before you reengage. If you can, go on a walk. Walks can be very helpful to cool down and give yourself time to respond instead of react. If you need more than a quick pause or time for a walk, end the discussion but set a time to resume it another day.
Perspective. Perspective is about stepping back from the situation for a moment to see the bigger picture. I often ask the crystal ball question. Whatever we are fighting over, will it matter five years from now? The answer is almost always, NO! If you are fighting with a friend or family member, remember that this person loves you. While it may not always be the case, most of the time they are FOR you, not against you. It might feel like they are against you at this moment, but step back and gain some perspective on the situation.
Pick. You have a choice. You do not need to react. You can Pause, gain Perspective, then Pick your response. You choose by your response to either escalate the conflict or help resolve the conflict. You can get out of the fight or fright loop.
If practicing the Three P’s does not work, give us a call. We have helped mediate important problems and issues between families and businesses. We are here to help you become the hero of creating peace!