Conflict resolution: 10 ways to resolve conflicts and solve relationship problems

Photo by kieferpix/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by kieferpix/iStock / Getty Images

Recently I got into an unpleasant situation with a dear friend that excited in me negative emotions to the point that I was no longer at peace with myself. Now, I have been a student of meditation for several years and such a negative response from me goes against the very core of what I have been learning and trying to practise all my life, but there it was--I was becoming a victim of my own negative thoughts and feelings that were threatening to destroy not only my own values and beliefs but also a friendship with somebody whom I so loved and cherished.

I knew that the only person responsible for my way of feeling was me and the only person I had the power to change was myself. Here are some of the things that helped me to see the light again.

1. Changing your consciousness

Problems cannot be solved in the same level of consciousness that created them.
— Albert Einstein

I realized that the more I was trying to use my reason and mind to resolve the issue, the more I was going round and round in circles focusing on all the hurt and anger the situation had caused. The result was that instead of finding a solution, my already biased mind started expanding the negative thoughts and I started feeling even more hateful and revengeful. But the moment I changed my consciousness through meditation, the negative thoughts started getting replaced by thoughts of peace, harmony and love and it was easier to forgive and move on.

Now, everybody does not practise meditation but there are several ways to change your consciousness like for e.g. going out for a long walk in the nature by yourself, exercising, going for a swim or doing creative work. The most important thing is that we must want peace ourselves and be willing to do whatever it takes to cultivate that peace in our lives.

2. Not dwelling on the situation

It has been scientifically proven that thinking the same thought over and over again cuts grooves in the brain which then becomes a habitual way of thinking. By dwelling on negative thoughts and feelings, we are habituating ourselves to thinking and feeling negatively which creates an attachment within us to wrong ways of thinking. The most horrible thing is that we start enjoying our misery and victim-consciousness otherwise we would not behave in such a way.

When I saw what I was doing to myself I was immediately embarrassed and ashamed of my behavior that contradicted everything I had learnt in life. I saw that there is nothing that cannot be solved from a center of love, a center of peace and harmony, but it was upto me to make a conscious effort to pratice this in my life.

3. Avoiding impulsive actions

The worst thing that you can do to a relationship is to retaliate when you are feeling emotional. I always feel that if I wait a few hours or even a few days, my emotions settle down and I can respond to the situation with wisdom and love instead of reacting on anger. Bite your tongue every time you want to lash out under the influence of impulsive emotions because in your heart that is not what you truly want. Such uncontrolled behavior usually leads to a feeling of deep regret later and it may sometimes cause irreparable damage to lifelong friendships or even result in married couples getting divorced. When your emotions are not involved, you are able to see the situation as it really is and not as the emotions want to perceive it.

4. Apologising

Sometimes just for the sake of harmony, it is good to apologise even if we think it is not our fault. We will not loose our self-respect by doing so but over a period of time, people will start respecting us for our humility and sincerity and may even start coming to us for counsel and advise. Being harmonious ourselves, we will start attracting harmonious environments and harmonious relationships, conditions which are essential to a happy and successful life.

5. Accepting others as they are

It is so easy for us to overlook our own imperfections and accept ourselves with our faults and weaknesses so why can't we accept others as they are. No relationship on earth is 100% perfect because nobody on earth is 100% perfect and once we accept this reality, we can start enjoying the 70% or the 80% perfection in each other.

6. Developing understanding

Sometimes it is easier to resolve a situation within our own selves when we understand how different we are from each other. People perceive situations according to where they are coming from. Their backgrounds, bringing up, education and experiences in life play a significant role in their dealing with others and reactions to circumstances around them.

7. Taking responsibility for yourself

In the end there is nobody you can change and the only person you can change is yourself. You are responsible for making your own life, building your own peace and creating your own happiness.

8. Non attachment

I also realize that I can't live this life peacefully without practising a little bit of non-attachment to my own feelings, emotions and reactions. It is not a negative non-attachment but a positive one that opens me to light and love.

9. Forgiveness

This is the most difficult thing to do but because it is so difficult, it is also the most liberating feeling I know of! To be able to forgive and empty oneself of all the emotional junk we like to carry with us all the time is exhilarating! Once I am truly able to forgive, I believe that I start living in harmony with the Universe and all good things start coming to me.

10. Becoming an example to yourself and inspiring others

Writing this blog and sharing my feelings with others, really helps me to introspect and grow and become a better person. Seriously, if you still haven't had success overcoming your negative thoughts and feelings, you might want to start a blog and share your challenges with others. You will want to become an example not only to yourself but also to others as you document your struggles and victories. Alternatively, you can also start writing a private journal and record your experiences there. Writing really helps clear the junk from the mind and on days the negative emotions start showing up, you can always go back to your journal and feel inspired again!