Posts Tagged ‘how to handle conflict’

A while back, the latch on my side gate fell off. Don’t you hate it when you lose your latch?

The wood two-by-four that the metal latch was screwed on to had rotted. The gate wouldn’t stay closed.

So I went to work. I knocked off the old wood, replaced it with new wood, screwed back on the latch — all good. My gate stays closed again — nice and solid.

I was talking to a friend a few years ago who had a conflict with someone else I knew. The latch was coming off their relationship.

She said to me, “I’m a runner!”

What she meant was that when relationships got hard, she ran from the conflict. This time, true to form, she ran — clear across the country. When she came back, it wasn’t to the same place. I miss her.

I was talking to someone else this week. There is conflict on the team which she oversees in our organization. She told me, “Don’t worry! I’m not going anywhere!” She’s a stayer. She is willing to mend a latch.

Rot, difficulty, conflict — it’s normal, expected, certain to come, at home, work, community and church. But usually, with courage and some skill, and the willingness to stay through it, something broken can be repaired.

What is absolutely necessary to get a fix is to not run. To mend our relational gates we must stay for honest conversations, risk expressing underlying emotions, come to workable solutions, craft action plans that create win-win solutions.

The other day I spent some time deleting some contacts from my mobile phone. Many of them had moved. People come and go. We always have a few special ones to delete from our contacts, maybe even some people who have harmed us, whom we shouldn’t talk to anymore. They don’t get us. They limit us. Perhaps they dominate us. We delete them. That’s okay. Its protection.

But here is the deal: Delete who you must. Especially be courageous in deleting those who bring you ruin with their bad choices, but don’t delete the precious people who God has given you to love — family, team, coworkers, therapists, fellow students, friends — even when they aren’t perfect. With them, be a stayer!

Your people, those within your yard, those protected by your gate, your magnificent messes, all your sweet ones, all your fragile precious ones whom God has given you, when it comes to them — mend the latch.

Many people, you know, have been  radiated.

But  maybe you don’t know that, because mostly, when you see someone, it’s not the first thing you notice.

I ran into a friend in the grocery store today. We caught up. The first thing I noticed was her unique face and her smile. We all have the same pieces, eyes, mouth, nose, ears — but “wow” and “superwow” again; those smiles are each perfectly special.

She mentioned getting forced out of her last job. That  came up because she was telling me she was looking for new work.

“I think it was a personality thing,” she said. Then I could see that she had been radiated. A “personality thing” — that’s code for someone decided they didn’t want her at her workplace, and a few conversations were had behind the scenes, and then, she was history.

“I know,” I said, “It’s something I’ve experienced too.”

We chatted a bit more. I said, “Hey, I’ll pray for you.” I did, as I walked away, and later too, because, “I know.”

It’s common, to get nuked, by someone else’s personality, or their agenda, or their insecurity. At work, church, among friends and in the family, if you live long enough, you will be blasted by someone else’s poor management of  their own issues, and yours.

I know another person who used to work for the same organization as the girl I met in the grocery store. She recently told me she had gotten a new job. Why? She too was radiated a few years back. It was so bad, she lost her opportunity to even work in that field anymore, despite her good credentials, and she had to go back to school and retrain for a different career. Fortunately, that worked! I’m glad for her, but she still isn’t “okay” with what happened to her.

Why all the radiated employees? Many CEO’s, supervisors, “bosses,” and just plain people aren’t good at conflict resolution; they bring to their conflict win-lose solutions. They win, the underling loses. Why?  These human resource brokers tend to see the world as black and white; one person is wrong, someone else is right, and so they “do what they have to do” by making the party at fault (in their minds),  the loser. This is interesting, painful, maddening, hurtful, harmful, crazy, radiating!  And yet, often,  the core issue, is the power broker’s own personality and problem solving weaknesses, which have created, at least a part,  the problems.

And so, radiation happens.

But here it the really fine news! For those of us who  have gotten up close to  personalities that are leaking nuclear power plants,  we  have choices, afterwards, which  can successfully mitigate the negative and harmful effects.

To help you thrive, after being radiated, here is what you can do, as I’ve learned it from my own experience.

Never stop moving forward into the next thing God has for you. God, the God who sent  his son Jesus to die for a sin-radiated world, is the God of radiation recovery. God, as he exists in his absolutely crazy-good-loving-redemptive personality is always trying to help you move into a healthy, radiation free future. Retrain, retool, rethink the future, try again, go back at it, when you fail again, get up and try again, never stop moving, except to rest and eat. The enemy — it’s quitting!

Forgive everything! Christ forgave you; forgive everyone else. Yourself, your boss, the organization, the people who don’t apologize,  the people who apologize except that it’s for the wrong thing because they still don’t get it, their friends who helped them hurt you, your friends who abandoned you, every-freaking-body on the planet, forgive them,  if that is necessary. Forgive and then, when the memories come back, forgive again and forgive for the rest of your life, if that is how long it takes. That doesn’t mean you quit saying what happened was wrong; it doesn’t mean you forget it; it means something like you do all you can to make it right and then you leave it in God’s hands.

Why? If you don’t forgive, you’ll radiate yourself.

And lastly, learn from what happened. Nothing is simple. “They” did something wrong, you can hold on to that if it is true, but so might you have made mistakes in  what happened and in how you have handled what went down or in how you will handle it in the future.  You have a personality too, and it can radiate people too, especially if you have been hurt. It’s been said that hurt people hurt people. It’s true, and so be careful, because you don’t want to become a hurt person who hurts other people. Don’t do what was done to you in any way, shape or otherwise twisted form.  That will make you similar to the people who hurt you, and you don’t, trust me, want to be like them.

Take your hurt and learn to be compassionate towards others. Having been radiated, “You know,” and your knowing is a powerful force inside of you to understand and to be compassionate, and to be gentle and to take some pain out of the world, instead of smashing more pain back into the world.

The best radiation therapy in the universe is found in understanding and in compassion, which we all know by its more noble name — love.

Figure it out; people need you to work this out. You’ll meet them tomorrow in the grocery store. They will have just been radiated, and you will do best with them if you can say, without any residual toxic resentment inside of you, “I know.”