Fighting is part of every interpersonal human relationship. From sibling rivalry to teenage rebellion, even intra-marital disagreements, we are passionate creatures who often engage in battles of wills, beliefs and plans of action. Furthermore, fighting can actually serve to bring us closer together with our loved ones. Martha Beck, for Oprah.com, tells us, “Conflict is the mechanism by which we set boundaries around these differences, so that each party feels safe with the other. Whether the fight is an all-out brawl (someone jumps you in an alley and you struggle physically against that person) or the mildest tiff (“Watch the sexist language.” “Sorry. Won’t happen again”), conflict is the way we say, “You may go this far with me, and no further.” Until we know we can make and hold such boundaries, we never become comfortable enough to relax, be our true selves, and open our hearts.”
Knowing that not all fighting is bad fighting and that some conflict in your relationships might actually be a good thing, we ask, how do you fight right? Here are some ways to resolve those pesky personal conflicts without losing your cool, or your relationship, forever.
Listen More Than You Speak When we argue, we often feel as though we’re being attacked. Instead of jumping to the defense, take a moment to hear what your sparring partner is actually fighting for. You’ll probably hear that he or she isn’t actually upset with you personally but more angry about a situation or circumstance… or maybe you just made a really bad choice and will have the opportunity to hear a different perspective and say you’re sorry. Whatever the case, listening more than you’re actually speaking will give you a chance to really understand the other person’s perspective in order to solve whatever problem you’re having with one another.
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