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Conflict Myth #1: Conflict Resolution = Closure

Conflict Myth #1: Conflict Resolution = Closure

By Dr. Chris White

11 years ago




What is true conflict resolution?  I encounter a lot of people who feel like conflict resolution involves sitting down with the other party and putting all of the facts on the table, expressing feelings, airing emotions and seeing if the other person can finally own their part.

Wow, wouldn’t that be nice!  I literally laughed out loud as I typed that, not because it wouldn’t be ideal, but simply because it’s extremely unlikely!  To have conflict with someone and then expect the resolution to work out that easily is very improbable.   When it’s comes to resolution, what I’ve found is that:

  • It’s less about purging and getting everything on the table, and it’s more about finding internal balance and resolving your own needs and expectations.
  • It’s less about finalizing the “score,” and it’s more about learning all you can about yourself.
  • It’s less about calculating if they have owned their junk enough and more about looking at the bigger picture of what you can do to improve the relationship.
  • It’s less about needing them to meet your needs, and it’s more about not letting your happiness and effectiveness be dependent on others.
  • It’s less about waiting for them to have more “good days,” and it’s more about whether you have behaved and responded like a leader in the relationship.
  • It’s less about determining if justice can be served and more about seeing if progress can be made.  Do you want justice or progress?  Sometimes I want justice so badly that it actually impedes progress!

Reflect on some conflict you’ve experienced (or are experiencing!), and challenge yourself with a bullet point from above.

Free yourself and shift the locus of control back to you.  Don’t wait for the other person to change—change yourself first!  Especially since the only person you can control is yourself!  Be the one to move the resolution forward, even if that resolution is simply internal to you.


Dr. Chris White

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