Pretty much all of my blog posts are born out of my own experiences and a deep wish to help others make it through similar situations with someone who understands what they are facing. Sometimes simply knowing that you’re not alone can really spur you on to keep standing your ground and to help you realise that you are not, in fact, going mad!
This past week I have been on the reverse side of the equation once again and found myself turning to friends, family, professionals, and even ‘tinternet to help reassure me that my marbles are well and truly still in place and that I am not only doing what I feel is right but what is also in alignment with what people I trust and admire think is right too. Having the right support in place is an imperative part of facing adversity head on and not getting sucked down or avoiding it altogether.
As part of this plunge into the shit once more, I realised that I have developed a process when it comes to facing conflict and I hope that the six steps I follow may help you too.
So here they are:
#1 Get Out
This is the first and most important part of the process. Get yourself away from the situation and give yourself time to digest everything and plan your next move. If you try and face it straight away you’ll most likely regret it later. Even if this means going to the loo and locking yourself in a stall for a few minutes you have to remove yourself as quickly as possible to help you get your head straight. As a lot of my shit comes in the way of emails I simply get away from my PC and get out of the house or take a shower and create some space between the initial ignitor and myself. If you’re dealing face to face then walking away is also a good idea as you can’t take words back once you’ve said them! A change of scenery not only allows you to calm down, but it changes the energy of the situation.
#2 Get Emotional
Allowing yourself to get angry/sad/annoyed/pissed off (insert your favourite word here) is really important. You have to acknowledge how the situation in question makes you feel. If you squash this feeling down then it will only explode later and usually much more violently than the first time. So spend some time with the anger and pain and really identify what it is that is pushing your buttons. Is it that you feel that you are being blamed for something that isn’t your fault or maybe that you are being undermined or just that someone is trying to belittle you. It may not even be related to this event at all and be pushing some buttons that have never been sorted from previous experiences. Whatever it is – let the emotions flow in a healthy way so that you know what you’re dealing with. Once you’ve had a good scream/cry/rant (insert your favourite outlet here) you need to move on to step 3 or you’ll never get anywhere…
#3 Get Calm
If anyone has ever told you to simply ‘calm down’ then you will know that this is almost impossible when you’re really riled up. However, getting out of the initial situation in step 1 is a sure-fire way of starting to calm down. Remember that the world is still turning and what may seem like the end of it in your head is not actually what’s happening ‘out there’. Getting out into nature, grounding yourself or doing some meditation are all quick and simple ways of calming yourself down even in the midst of the biggest headaches. And if you have to do it in the loo (previously one of my favourite workplace hiding spots) then so be it.
#4 Get Real
Once you’re calm it’s time to get real. We all have a tendency to blow events and problems out of proportion so this step is where you stop yourself from imagining the ‘we’re all doomed’ scenario. If you’ve completed step 3 you will be calm enough to get out of your own head and think logically about the situation. Try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view if you can and ask yourself why they have acted the way they have or done what they have done – often easier said than done. It may help you to come to terms with it and start to see the problem for what it really is. Then again it may not so that’s why the next step is super important too…
#5 Get Support
You don’t have to take on the world on your own. You are not an island. You are not David v Goliath. Call, text or email your friends and get some support. Read books, do some Googling, watch inspiring videos, have your own Inspirational FirstAid Kit and check out as many resources as you have to to find what you need to support you. Admitting that you need help is a sign of strength and not a sign of weakness, and you’ll be surprised at how friends and family rally in times of crisis if you just lower your defences enough to ask. A friendly ear can make an insurmountable obstacle turn into a small blip if you just open up and confide in someone you trust. But do be careful who you trust – you’ve got to watch Brené Brown’s SuperSoul Session called ‘The Anatomy of Trust’ for more on this one!
#6 Get Fired Up
Now you’re calm, you’re logical, you’re supported and you know you’re not bonkers (isn’t that a bonus!) and this is when you respond to the situation; this is when you type that email, call that person, make those plans. Set clear boundaries for yourself, stand in your own power and speak your truth. You need to stick to the facts and stay nice but not get pushed around either. Remember that you have just as much right to be heard as anyone else and doing it in a calm and realistic way is key to other people listening. And hey, if they don’t listen to you then it doesn’t mean your wrong, it just means they don’t agree. You can’t change that or them, but you can change your attitude to the outcome.
So, there you have it. This process used to take me days, if not weeks to work through and often it happened in a completely different order than I’ve written it above – sometimes with less than wonderful results. Switching things around to this order has meant that I get my head straight quicker and sort out issues, at least in my own mind, a lot sooner now – usually within a day or just a couple of hours depending on how worked up I get to begin with.
I hope it helps you too.
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