Sunday, December 27, 2015

How to Reduce Conflict in Relationship

Assalamualaikum and greetings dear Bits and Pieces readers,

No matter how loving and caring a relationship is, conflict is omnipresent. Friction occur between husband and wife, friends fight, and children refuse to be in contact with parents. Of course, there are also many other relationship examples.

However, don't give up on relationships just because of conflicts. Albeit there are circumstances that can't be fixed, there is always the possibility to minimize if not resolve them.

1. Be patient
The first thing that we feel before a conflict starts is dissatisfaction which is closely followed by anger. Instead of letting these feelings escape from our mouth or God forbid through violence, try and control ourselves. Take a deep breath; do whatever you can do to calm yourself. As Muslims, we should say "a'uzu billahi minash shaitonir rojim" (I seek refuge in ALLAH from satan) because anger can lead us to doing evil deeds. It is also helpful to remember this, whether you be Muslims or not:

"The strong man is not one who is good at wrestling, but the strong man is one who controls himself in a fit of rage." (Prophet Muhammad)

2. Be understanding
Try and imagine being in the other person's shoes. Our husband might be stressful from his underpaid job, our friend might be having a family problem that they don't want us to worry about, and our parents were just trying to advice us for the better. This act of empathy can definitely reduce the anger and dissatisfaction that we feel inside.

3. Be thankful
Recall how our husband would soothe us whenever we're in pain, remember how our friend helped us whenever we are in trouble, and remind ourselves the sacrifices made by our parents. This act of reminiscing should be able to subside the remaining anger inside us. A Malay proverb comes to mind:

"Hancur badan dikandung tanah, budi baik terkenang juga" which in simple English means good deeds are remembered forever even though the person who committed that act of good deeds had passed away.

4. Take a timeout
Should number 1, 2, and 3 didn't work, pull yourself away from that person. Give ourselves time by taking a walk alone or jog or whatever it is that can calm us. Bear in mind that giving ourselves time is never the same as running away from problems. So when I say "whatever it is that can calm us", I don't mean drugs, alcohol, violence, and the likes.

By giving ourselves time, we are escaping from negative energy so that positive energy can come in. This allows us to become patient as well as to try and understand where the other person is coming from.

5. Communicate effectively
Unfortunately, being patient, understanding, and thankful cannot solve conflicts. Same goes to pulling away from conflicts. Although there are special cases of conflicts that is better for us to settle with the strategies mentioned, most conflicts should be discussed with the person we are in conflict with.

This discussion however doesn't necessarily need to be done right after the conflict. Create the right mood to talk. Choose an appropriate time where both have cooled down and can think rationally. I firmly believe that relationships can flourish when both sides are able to communicate the right way.    

6. Be forgiving
It is an undeniable fact that some conflicts come to fruition because of past misunderstandings. Even though we had already discussed it with our significant other before, we still can't let go, we still can't seem to forgive. I admit, to forgive someone is hard; but the reality is, not forgiving only interferes with our happiness.
Let's view forgiving as an important decision. If we forgive, we get to be happy; if we do not forgive, we will suffer.

Whoever and wherever you are at, I sincerely hope that you will be able to minimize conflicts. I pray that we all can have healthy relationships :)