This came up a couple of times this week, so I thought it would make a good tip.
When you find yourself in the position of having to confront someone, here are some steps you can take that will help you achieve a positive outcome:
- Deal with the emotion – often, when we make the decision that we need to confront someone, it’s because we’re upset. The person has said or done something that doesn’t feel good or right and we want to let them know. It’s most helpful though if you deal with the emotion before you have the conversation with them. Whenever you go into such a conversation carrying a lot of emotion, the other person tends to immediately become defensive, and that’s when confrontation can become uncomfortable, or even nasty.
Instead, identify the emotion that this person/situation has triggered in you. Are you feeling angry, sad, misunderstood, ignored? Identify what you’re feeling and then write about it. Ask yourself where this is really coming from, where has it happened in the past? Usually you’ll find that what you’re feeling relates to something that happened in your past, perhaps when you were a child. Often it’s a recurring theme in your life and it actually has nothing to do with the person or situation that just triggered it.
You’ll know when you’ve worked through the emotion and let it go when you feel calmer. If you write about it and still feel intense emotion, it can be helpful to talk to someone who is a good listener. Ask them to just listen, rather than trying to offer advice. They may ask you some questions to help clarify what you feel. Often, talking something through is enough to make the shift. The point is that you don’t want to go into the conversation/confrontation with someone until you have released this emotion.
- Stick to the facts – This should be a lot easier to do once you’ve let go of the emotion. Sticking to the facts makes the situation easier to address. You can say “this happened, which led to this and it affected me this way.” Often, you’ll find that the other person had no idea their words or actions had affected you in the way they did.
- Know what you want – Be clear on what you would like the outcome to be. What would feel good to you? What would be the ideal resolution to this issue? Again, when you stick to facts, it makes it much easier to arrive at a mutual agreement.
There’s no need to be so afraid of confrontation when you take this approach. The worst thing about it is how you feel, and if you deal with that up-front, and work through the emotion, arriving at a place of calmness and clarity, you’ll be able to handle any conversation much more easily.
Of course, there are some people (like narcissists and bullies) with whom there can be no peaceful resolution. They are attached to being right and they don’t really care if they upset you or anyone else. Even so, if you have to deal with this type of person the first and most important thing to do is to deal with your emotion until you feel better. These types of people feed of the painful energy and emotions of other people, and if you remove that, then there’s nothing in it for them.
Action Step: Think of a person or situation that is upsetting to you right now. Identify and work through the emotions that are being triggered until you feel better. Then think about how you would ideally like to resolve the issue.
This affirmation will help:
I have the power to resolve any conflict in a positive way, for the highest good of everyone involved.