Monday, November 22, 2021

The Holidays and Conflict Part 1 (The Turkey Special)

 It Begins with the Turkey (Or Vegetarian Equivalent)

Merriment, songs, catchy phrases, that's what we hear around this time of the year. It's the holidays! Let's celebrate! The holidays can bring a lot of repressed or hurt feelings. It isn't always joy and peace for all. We know the common taboo topics not to bring up in between bites of turkey or tofurkey: politics, religion, and past grievances. We also know there are other topics that cause ire. 

How can you prepare for the holidays and deal with conflict? A couple of tips I suggest at all of my workshops can help you. First, think about 3 things you are grateful for about the person upsetting you. It's harder to stay mad at someone when you are appreciative of them. Second, why did you come? Sure yummy food and pumpkin pie may top your list, but it's usually to see friends, family, colleagues, someone you care about. Remember your "why" for being there. It may be to reconnect, to have human contact after all of the craziness that has been COVID, see an older relative you don't often get to see, play with the nieces or nephews (or Spot the dog, your true favorite), or simply to enjoy a meal with someone you care about. 

Be kind to yourself. Honor your feelings in the present. If it's getting difficult to stay engaged in the conversation, you can make the choice to leave OR say you value the person AND would rather discuss the topic at a later date. You are not dismissing the conversation, but you are setting boundaries around the conversation. Give your "why" for being there and focus on the moment. Take deep breaths if needed, go outside for a bit of fresh air, or count to 100 in your head. There are many ways to calm yourself if the holiday meal starts to bring you anxiety. If there is long term hurt or issues that have not been addressed, schedule time to catch up. Take this time to create small moments that will lead to meaningful memories. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Generations Before You

 Generations Before You

How do you handle conflict? How do you want your children to handle conflict? Conflict resolution skills lead to resilience. Many parents I speak to say they want their children to be able to resolve conflict. They want their children to have the skills necessary to handle a difficult encounter. These skills are traits leaders and successful individuals exhibit. These traits help a child or adult navigate life. How you handle conflict maybe learned from your parents. Where did they learn to handle conflict? The short answer is from their parents or guardians. Behaviors are learned. One generation teaches the next generation. How we speak to others can also be something we are emulating from our childhood. What did you see? Respect, courtesy, an acceptance of different opinions? Or did you see fighting, yelling, an "It's my way or highway" attitude. You can change the narrative. You can learn conflict resolution skills to show your children how to handle difficult situations. You can learn how to have fruitful conversations even when opinions differ. Inevitably, your child will have a disagreement with you, a sibling, or a friend. How do you want your child to handle that situation? 

©Denise Yusuff Mediations


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Are You Ready to Resolve Conflict?

 Are you ready to resolve conflict in your life? 


Many of us may want to resolve a current conflict in our life, but we must be ready to work towards an actual agreement and forgiveness. Ask yourself the following questions to see where you are in your journey to resolving this conflict: 


  1. Do you want to work towards a solution? 
  2. Are you ready to hear the other person’s experience of the situation? 
  3. What does forgiveness look like in this situation to you? 
  4. Are you ok with not hearing the specific words you want to hear? 
  5. Can you take partial responsibility for the current conflict and for working towards a resolution? 

These are tough questions to ask oneself. If you are truly ready to work towards an agreement and repair the relationship, you must answer them truthfully. Wanting to find a resolution and being ready to take a step towards resolution are two different things. Answering these questions are essential in your personal journey towards resolving this conflict and future conflict. 






©Denise Yusuff Mediations


Friday, January 15, 2021

The Benefits of Family Mediation

Why Mediate Family Disputes?

Family disputes tend to be the most difficult and emotionally draining types of conflicts. They may involve disagreements between spouses, a parent and a child, siblings and other family structures. They take a different type of emotional toll. They may remove a person's sense of security. Your go to person is now the person you are avoiding. 

Why should you mediate? For any mediation, using a skilled and experienced mediator to guide the conversation helps preserve the relationship. For a family mediation, it helps preserve the relationship and more. You can set boundaries to prevent future fights. You can keep disagreements from tearing apart families. You can prevent drawn out disagreements. Preserve the kindness, compassion and empathy that is needed in a family unit. 

How does mediation help families stay together? Mediation lends itself to establishing good communication practices. You work through your concerns and conflicts and create your own solution. It's proven that when you are involved in the solution creation process you are more likely to stick to the agreement. 

Use mediation to preserve and protect family relationships. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

What You Don't Know

  What You Don’t Know...

Part of conflict resolution is assuming positive intent. If we assume positive intent it helps to reduce anger, fight conflict with positivity, and find a resolution. Assuming positive intent in tense situations diffuses and deescalates conflict. Part of it is that we don’t feel targeted, we don’t feel like the person hurt us intentionally. Assuming positive intent can keep the peace. Why should we assume positive intent? Quite simply, we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s important for conflict resolution because we don’t know what the other person is going through. There are numerous scenarios that can lead to a person to not act as their best self. That person may have lost their job and be experiencing financial worries. Difficult situations at home can cause a person to snap. The loss of a loved one takes a toll that could lead to disagreements in the family and that person may project that onto others. They may have a sick family member or may be sick themselves. 

Think of a time you snapped at someone because you were having a hard time. Perhaps you were sick, unhappy, or going through a rough time. Did someone extend grace to you when you were not at your best? Did someone tell you it’s water under the bridge to make you feel better? How did you feel? During my pregnancy, I had a difficult time with ER visits and worried about my baby’s health. I had a meltdown at a sandwich shop because I was tired and hungry. I was shown kindness and grace. The manager assumed positive intent and realized I needed compassion. 

A loved one became sick and let me know they were having a hard time. I didn’t get a chance to call back and check in that week. When I did get a chance to call, they asked why I hadn’t called and said they thought I would have cared more. After the call I was upset, the person didn’t know what I had gone through that week. Even though I was unhappy about the conversation, I recognized the person was not feeling well. They were worried about something they could not control. I could take the words harshly and become upset, possibly hold a grudge. In the alternative, I could show compassion and assume positive intent. 

The words were not what I wanted to hear, but I assumed the words came from hurt feelings not to intentionally criticize me. I planned to call after two days (to let myself calm down and think out what I wanted to say). When I called, the person apologized right away. They felt lonely and scared and knew what they said was wrong. By letting time pass, I allowed for anger to settle down and for rational thinking to resume. When we assume positive intent, it also gives us time to slow down, think, and consider things from a different perspective. Our default reaction can be defensive or dismissive of the other person. We may also react in anger. The next time someone says something that bothers you, assume positive intent. Take a mental note of how you feel. Is your perspective of the situation different? What is the goal when you reply? Hopefully, your reply and how you handle the situation changes for the better by making the small change of assuming positive intent.

©Denise Yusuff Mediations