GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love – Part 2 In Action
Talking about agreeing and disagreeing in love is a perfect topic for this time in our year. We are about to plan for the 2020 year by conducting our Congregational Meeting after the regular Service today.
Sometimes people come to meetings with their own agendas. They want things as they see it. It might be that they don’t want things to change. Or maybe we aren’t changing fast enough.
Maybe they have ideas for growth that others do not agree with. Or for fundraising? Or how the Service is run?
There are many topics of possible disagreement in any group, including ours.
This is where we are asked to “Be on our Card.” We each have one. And Unity Spiritual Center’s card is our Mission,
Vision & Values.
So, I am hoping our discussions will help all of us be on that card and aid us as we walk through our plans for 2020.
Last week we took a look at the first part of Agreeing & Disagreeing in Love. I think we can all agree that conflict can be a part of everyone’s life, and it is all in how we handle that conflict as to how we come out in the end.
It’s the react; or respond choice. And that choice can be a heaven or hell choice. Reaction is reflex and there are times when quick reflexes are good, like catching a child from sticking their hand in a flame.
But reacting is probably not a good thing when in conflict with someone. In a situation like that, responding is much better…thought before action.
And what’s the difference.? Well, the example of the child going to place their hand too near a fire is a place where reacting, instinct taking over. And in the case of conflict, whether it is within yourself over traffic or with another individual, responding is the way to go. It’s thought out. It is a step or two away from the emotion involved. A pause. And it has a better chance of finding the 3rd option in the situation, making it a win-win.
So, in this series, there are three Commitments. Last week we discussed the first Commitment:
Accept Conflict – Acknowledge that conflict is a normal part of our life.
If I remember correctly, most of us admitted to experiencing conflict in our lives. And I think, we had a good look at what may be some of our part in that conflict, through some of the questions we asked during last weeks’ Message:
How do you keep your cool?
What habits would you personally, be changing to resolve conflicts?
How important is conflict resolution in any relationship?
I hope you had a chance to contemplate these questions as they pertain to yourself.
So, this week we would like to look at some ways to aid us in our responses to conflict. We touched on a few last week:
Recognize your triggers and patterns
Confront the issue – not the person
Affirm the Truth – Endeavor to see conflict as symptomatic of what’s missing in our intention to create authentic community
Commit to Prayer – Examine where we are coming from and release our need to be right.
Our Commitments for this week are:
Go to the other – Go directly to those with whom we disagree; avoid behind-the-back criticism.
What does this mean? It means if we must apologize to someone for something we mistakenly did, we go to them and say our apologies.
If we disagree with someone, we do the same thing. We go to them, not all puffed up but in the spirit of humility. Our Leadership Training from Big Unity tells us to go in gentleness, patience, and humility. Own our part in the conflict instead of blaming others and acting as if the others are responsible for how we are behaving.
This is a place where some of us may have an issue…to own our part in the conflict. We often feel justified in feeling what we do. Maybe even feel the victim. We need to find another way to look at things.
Part of the issue may be we haven’t been trained to be active listeners.
What does that mean?
It means fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker.
Active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening – otherwise the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.
Interest can be conveyed to the speaker by using both verbal and non-verbal messages such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’ or simply ‘Mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue. By providing this ‘feedback’ the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more easily, openly and honestly.
Listening is not something that just happens (that is hearing), listening is an active process in which a conscious decision is made to listen to and understand the messages of the speaker.
Listeners should remain neutral and non-judgmental, this means trying not to take sides or form opinions, especially early in the conversation. Active listening is also about patience – pauses and short periods of silence should be accepted.
Listeners should not be tempted to jump in with questions or comments every time there are a few seconds of silence. Active listening involves giving the other person time to explore their thoughts and feelings, they should, therefore, be given adequate time for that.
Here’s a graphic that may help: pic
1. Be attentive – when someone is talking about the situation that has caused the conflict, try to not let your mind wander. Especially, do not start on your comeback when you have not let the other complete their statements.
2. Ask open-ended questions – Pic a question that requires a full answer using the person’s own knowledge and/or feelings about the topic. Open-ended questions or statements begin with the following words: why, how, what, describe, explain, tell me about…, or what do you think about…
3. Ask probing questions. Use them for further clarification to an open-ended question. Probing for completeness. Once a complete, clear answer has been given to an open-ended question, you can ask more questions to get additional information. Examples of questions that probe for clarity are “What else do you like?” or “What other reason did you have?”
4. Request clarification. If you feel you do not understand fully what is being said, use yourself as part of the question, not the person you are speaking with: “I” statements instead of “you” statements… “I need you to…” versus “You need to…”
5. Paraphrase means you want to rephrase what the other said to ensure you understand what’s been said by asking, “Is this what you said or meant”
6. Be attuned to and reflect feelings – people can be hurt, upset, angry; and we must all be aware of how the other, and ourselves, are reacting to the discussion.
7. Summarize what was said to ensure complete understanding.
Be quick to listen – Listen carefully, summarize and check out what is heard before responding. Seek as much to understand as to be understood
Be slow to judge – Suspend judgements, end enrolling others in our position, discard threats, and act in a non-defensive and non-reactive way.
Refrain from engaging in “parking lot” conversations. This means discussing the misunderstanding with another instead of the person involved in a gossiping way. This only causes more dis-harmony and nothing is resolved.
Be willing to negotiate – Work through the disagreement constructively.
• Identify issues, interests, and needs of both (rather than take positions.)
• Generate a variety of options for meeting both parties’ needs. (rather than defending one’s own way).
• Evaluate options by how they meet the needs and satisfy the interests of all sides (not just one side’s values).
• Collaborate in working out a joint solution (so both sides gain, both sides grow and win).
• Cooperate with the emerging agreement (accept the possible, not demand your ideal).
• Reward each other for each step forward, toward agreement (celebrate mutuality).
with the ‘other’ will help you when it’s time for the discussion. Praying may help you ‘see’ another way to look at the situation, and possibly change your view or give you a different insight to what actually happened.
Then, take a breath, and make time and effort to resolve the issue with the other person involved. If nothing seems to be coming to a conclusion, ask for another to help you both ‘see’ another way…the third option.
Remember, you always have help if you need it, you only need to ask….