Notes on the Journey

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Conflict Resolution

I found a new website today as recommended in Kelly Hunter's astrology newsletter.  She mentioned it by saying that Julie Roberts' book, "Building Better Relationships:  Short Essays on Learning to Relate," discusses the principles of The CLEAR Process of conflict resolution.  The website, so you can check it out for yourself, is:  They also have a way to work through conflict in a guided way online.  And, they have a mobile app.

Anything that facilitates conflict resolution and non-violent communication is something that benefits us all.  How many times have we been in situations of conflict and been at a loss as to how to find a resolution?  I've lost relationships in this way; there was a conflict and I just didn't have the tools with which to resolve it.  I've always been conflict averse anyway, but at least having tools to utilize when conflict happens makes the possibility of resolution real.  I think conflict stumps a lot of us.  We react without thinking and then can't figure out how to get out of our reaction...or, to take responsibility for it.

The CLEAR Process consists of five steps:
1)  Clarify
2)  Locate
3)  Express
4)  Attune
5)  Reciprocation

The first step - CLARIFY - is to state the event/action that triggered the conflict without blame...just the facts of what happened.

The second step - LOCATE - is to locate what you're feeling and ask yourself, "What unmet need caused the feeling?"

The third step - EXPRESS - is to express what you felt/are yourself.

The fourth step - ATTUNE - is to attune to the other person in the conflict.  Respond back to validate that you really heard them and that you understand the way they felt/feel.

The fifth step - RECIPROCATION - is to discuss/negotiate what is needed to end the conflict.

It takes two to walk through this process together, so one of the people in the conflict has to step forward and initiate the process of resolution.  And, the other person has to agree to want resolution and to walk through this process together.  Once you both agree that you want resolution, and are willing to walk through the process, then each person has to commit to honesty without blame.  By each person taking responsibility for their reactions, and the emotions behind them, without blaming the other person, the door to resolution is open.

It's a process of respect and responsibility.  We respect the other person; their ability to hear us, their ability to respond from a place of responsibility; their ability to be honest; their ability to receive us in our vulnerability; their ability to understand and have compassion; and, their ability to compromise.  This process, done through to resolution, is strengthening to the relationship.  At the end of the process, each person has shown that the relationship means enough to them to want to find resolution.  At the end of the process, each person knows themselves and each other better.  At the end of the process, each person trusts and respects the other more deeply.  At the end of the process, each person feels seen and heard and personally empowered.

We all experience conflict.  You'd have to live in a reclusive bubble and have no human contact to avoid conflict...and, you'd probably still be in conflict with yourself!  Learning to face conflict and deal with it in a way that allows the affected relationship/s to grow and continue is a wonderful thing.  If we all knew how to settle things peacefully between us--countries as well as people--violence would no longer have a place.  And, if we felt we had the tools to achieve resolution to conflict when it arose, fear would go away.  And, as we learn more about ourselves and others through peaceful communication and conflict resolution, we move more deeply into acceptance and love.  And, that's the kind of world in which I want to live.

So, next time something happens, try these steps.  See how they work for you.  Try for resolution instead of walking away or attacking.  Go for peace.  Person to person.  Conflict by conflict.  Baby step by baby step.  Be brave.  You can do it. 

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