The other day a friend of mine told me a story about a seminar he had attended in Atlanta. The focus of the seminar was to educate married men on how to create better relationships with their wives. And with any seminar dealing with marriage, the topic of conflict resolution came up.
But the technique which was taught was much different than those that I had heard or read in the past.
In this class, you couldn’t say anything about the other person’s actions because they were not there to defend themselves. (How often does that happen?) You could only talk about your actions that lead up to the situation or how you reacted to the situation.
When each man discussed a particular issue they were having with their wives, the instructor would begin to ask probing questions to get down to the root of the issue. As you can imagine, by the end of the exchange most of the men would realize they had either created the problem in some way or reacted in a way that fueled the problem and made worse it.
After listening to his story it made me think of an uncle of mine that operates under the same pretenses. I can call him to vent about something or someone and by the end of my vent session, he will have made me look at the situation from the other person’s perspective, killed my steam – almost making me feel guilty for thinking the way that I did about the situation and searching to find a way to fix it.
Over the last couple of years, I have been stuck in the cycle of blaming versus COMPLETELY redirecting my finger. This has caused me to remain angry and frustrated at the actions of others.
It’s easy to be angry when you feel that someone has done you wrong. It’s easy to be in conflict with others when you are looking at their problems instead of your own. It easy to hold grudges and not forgive others when you feel that they have wronged you. But when you redirect the finger and see you were the issue or that you provoked their actions it gives you a sense of clarity and allows you to change or apologize for your actions, THAT’S HARD!
All too often we tend to focus on other people’s scars and overlook our lacerations! We judge others based on their actions and justify our own either by intent, belief, pride, or by sheer denial. We get stuck in being angry with other people and never really resolve the issue that caused the problems in the first place, which makes those issues continue to surface guiding us (or me in this case) down the path of FRUSTRATION, RESENTMENT, and ANGER.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when you have done nothing wrong! In those situations you have to accept that fact that you can not change another person’s actions. If they are going to talk about you there is nothing you can do. If they have hate, or animosity towards you without cause, there is nothing you can do. The only thing you can control is how you deal with the situation!