by Dr Tim Ong
From a spiritual perspective, relationship is an opportunity for growth. Each relationship is unique for the 2 persons involved. We are first attracted into a relationship because of some common similarities or interests. However, it is the differences that offer us growth potentials. How we grow depends on how we manage these differences.
It is sad to see a relationship going down the drain, especially so in a husband-wife, mother-daughter or father-son relationships. A good family relationship goes a long way to bringing happiness into our lives and a failed family relationship is especially painful and the negative effects long lasting.
Here are some advice on how to resolve conflicts in a relationship whenever they arise.
1. Avoid the confrontational posturing
In resolving any conflicts, we must approach it from a position of wanting reconciliation and not confrontation. If we begin with a confrontational approach, we are likely to meet with failure in resolving the conflict.
Many people sincerely want to resolve their conflicts with their loved ones but are not able to do so because they are unaware that each time they try to talk things out, they face off each other as if going to a battle. They unconsciously armed themselves with a brick wall, folded arms and a confrontational attitude.
Even before they start, they have set themselves up for failure.
2. Remove the ego out of the equation
Every conflict that arises involved the ego. Our ego has the mental habit of wanting to win, to be right, to blame and to judge another. It is the ego that refuses to see that holding on to this habit hurts not only this relationship but also all relationships. That is why we keep getting to situations of conflict despite changes partners, friends, jobs and home. It is not the external events, circumstances or people that are the cause of the conflicts. It is our internal perceptions that is the real culprit.
To resolve any conflict, we should therefore be consciously aware of this and therefore remove our ego out of the equation.
3.Be careful of the mental habit of wanting to blame or judge
Nobody likes to be blamed or judged - not you nor the person you are having a conflict with. In resolving a conflict in a relationship, we should be mindful not to allow our old mental habit of blaming or judging to show its ugly face. Blaming and judging automatically activates the ego's tendency to defend itself. For many people, unconsciously, their best defense is an offense. So, without being fully aware, they launched into an attack that escalates the confrontation rather than heals the wounds.
4. Focus on the solution, not on wanting to be right
When we remove the ego from the equation, we stopped wanting to be right, to blame or to judge. Instead, we become more focused on finding a solution that is acceptable to both. In most cases, a solution can be found for each conflict as long as the ego is willing to give way to rational approach.
Many a time, it is our pride that stops us from achieving a beautiful and loving relationship. We want things to be OUR way and would rather sacrifice the relationship, albeit unconsciously, rather than not have it our way.
In history, many relationships have been broken beyond repair purely because of pride. Would you rather include yours into the statistics or salvage your relationship? That really depends on what you truly value in your life, doesn't it?
5. Be willing to let go and forgive
Probably the most important factor in resolving any conflicts is the willingness to forgive. To forgive essentially means to let go. What do we let go? We let go of our mental habit of clinging on to the resentments, the pains and the hurts. We let go of our habit of blaming, judging and holding grudges. We let go of our need to be right or to have things go our way. We simply let them all go.
To be able to let go of our mental habit of clinging on to our resentments, pains and hurts is not only useful for a resolution but also essential for our own mental, emotional and physical well being. Healing begins the moment we forgive and let go.
Lastly, it is important to know that not all relationships should be preserved as it is. Sometimes, it may be better to end the relationship or transform it into a different relationship. Even when two persons are better off ending an existing relationship, we can still choose to end it amicably and remain friends rather than foes.
Dr. Ong is a medical doctor with keen interests in self improvement, mind science and spirituality. He is the author of "The Book of Personal Transformation" and "From Fear to Love: A Spiritual Journey". His article is also featured in David Riklan's "101 Great Ways to Improve Yourself: Volume 3" together with other authors like Ken Blanchard, Byron Katie, Les Brown and Mark Victor Hansen.