August 15, 2023
Relationships - Navigating Conflict
When we're in relationship with another person, we end up showing more of ourselves than we would just on our own, especially when we're in really close partnerships where there may be a little more of the expectation to be vulnerable. What inevitably ends up happening when we reach these levels of intimacy with another person is that we find things about ourselves or about the other person that rub us a certain way.

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I have always found relationships to be endlessly fascinating. From navigating my friends' relationships (romantic or otherwise) to watching trashy romantic reality TV shows. I've always found the way that people interact with one another, communicate, share themselves, express intimacy, and navigate conflict to be so fascinating. 

When we're in relationship with another person, we end up showing more of ourselves than we would just on our own, especially when we're in really close partnerships where there may be a little more of the expectation to be vulnerable. What inevitably ends up happening when we reach these levels of intimacy with another person is that we find things about ourselves or about the other person that rub us a certain way. We then, of course, come to a point where we have to start navigating these rubs. Navigating past hurts that we may have brought into the relationship. Navigating conflicting values between two people. Navigating how to find common ground on a regular basis.

If you're in partnership, romantic, friendship, or business, it's important to find compatibility on a regular basis. I don't believe we have to be on the same page with our partners all the time, but I do believe that it's important to find compatibility on a frequent basis. This way we can trust that we're on the same team and that there's support when navigating all of life's challenges and the challenges between the two of us together. 

Whether in romantic partnerships, friendships, or business collaborations, the way we communicate, express ourselves, and navigate conflict can determine the strength and build resilience in our relationships. Let’s explore five essential components to cultivating a healthy relationship and navigating conflict. 

Now it's not that I think these five components are the perfect recipe to every relationship, but I do believe, based off of my experience with clients and education, that these five components are key, or some variation of them, are key again to creating long lasting, healthy, stable relationships. 

Honesty

The foundation of any successful relationship lies in being honest with ourselves and our partners. Clear and truthful communication about our feelings and emotions is essential to navigate challenges effectively. Authenticity fosters a safe space where both individuals can be vulnerable and connect genuinely.

Communication

Being able to express ourselves, whether it be expressing our needs and boundaries, or just expressing ourselves in an authentic way, being able to share ourselves openly and vulnerably with another person is the very key to feeling like you have created a safe space.Whether setting boundaries or sharing our needs, effective communication ensures that we understand and are understood by each other, fostering a deeper connection.

Respect

Respecting one another's values, boundaries, and perspectives is crucial for building a lasting and secure relationship. Respect establishes trust and allows partners to feel valued and appreciated for who they truly are.

Compassion

When I think of compassion, I think of two hearts really connecting with one another. Compassion is the ability to soften one’s ego, to empathize with the other person. To be able to put yourself in the other person's shoes and really see their perspective and feel it in a way that brings a broader level of understanding to the relationship. 

Appreciation

Expressing gratitude and appreciation for our partners' efforts and contributions strengthens the relationship's trust and bond. Feeling seen and recognized for our efforts fosters a sense of value and significance within the relationship.

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Before navigating conflicts with others, it is crucial to assess our own relationship with these five components. Our first relationship is with ourselves. By establishing a healthy connection with ourselves we can bring more honesty, communication, respect, compassion, and appreciation into our relationships. Self-awareness is key in identifying our needs, boundaries, and values, enabling us to express ourselves more effectively and maintain our sense of self in the relationship.

Let’s also address compatibility. Compatibility is essential in a successful relationship. While it's not necessary to be 100% compatible, a high level of compatibility ensures that partners can find common ground regularly. Flexibility and willingness to accommodate each other's needs are key to maintaining harmony and stability in the relationship. That said, embracing incompatibilities can also lead to growth and expansion, provided that both partners are open to learning from each other.

Conflict is a really natural part of any relationship and can be an opportunity for growth and understanding. Now saying all of this, I know that navigating conflict is not linear and not every conflicting situation is going to be the same. However, we can bring these five components of honesty, communication, respect, compassion and appreciation into every scenario that we must navigate and find common ground in. 

And by doing so, the how isn't necessarily important. The why becomes important. The approach of what you're bringing to the table becomes the container of safety and trust and respect for the conflict to, more likely, find a healthy and positive resolution for you and the other person. 

Reflection

  • When have you experienced conflict within one-on-one dynamics that led to productive resolutions and stronger relationships? When have you navigated conflict with another person and it hasn’t gone as well? 
  • How can you practically incorporate honesty, open communication, respect, compassion, and appreciation into your daily interactions and relationships? What steps can you take to cultivate vulnerability, understanding, and gratitude as regular practices?
  • What does compatibility look and feel like in your closest partnerships? Can you identify shared values, effective communication, and aligned goals? At what point do you notice compatibility transitioning into incompatibility? What signs or dynamics indicate that you might be veering away from being on the same team in a relationship?

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