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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dealing with conflict-Step 2-Listening to understand-Part B

We all see things differently. Even with simple things in life, we all see things according to our own experiences, feelings, thoughts, or opinions. We therefore can never take it for granted that the other person is seeing things the same way that we are. In a conflict situation it is more common for the two opposing people or groups to see things differently. Conflict resolution will only be successful when we can identify and understand the other person’s way of seeing things. Sometimes we might not be able to identify the other person’s way of seeing things; in that case we can always ask them to tell us how they feel and see things. The inability to see the other person’s point of view will result in a block, as we will not be able to move forward in order to resolve the conflict. When we attempt to go into the other person’s world and understand their point of view, the person will recognize and appreciate our attempt, even if our attempt is a small one. This might help to soften the person and the person in-turn will be more willing to understand us.

Think about a conflict situation like an optical illusion where there are more than one pictures within the same picture. Very often people are only able to see the one picture and unless they open their minds up to the possibility that there is another picture, they will argue relentlessly that the illusion presents only what they see. It is only when they open up their minds and begin to really look for the other picture or pictures that they actually do see it. This is exactly the same with conflict. If we close up our minds to an alternative picture, then we will remain stuck on our limited idea of what we think is going on, but when we open up our minds and truly make an attempt to see the other persons point of view, then we will begin to see the bigger picture and this will make it easier to deal with the conflict.


Listening to understand involves listening on three different levels:
1. Listening to the actual words the person is saying
2. Listening to their body language
3. Listening to their tone of voice

When you listen to all these three things together, this should give you a clearer understanding of what’s really going on with the next person. Sometimes these three things do not match; for instance, someone may be really angry but they do not want to say it and so they pretend that they are not angry, but their body language and tone of voice may not match what they say. Therefore we have to pay attention to all these things in a conflict situation.

Insha'Allah in step 3 we will focus on communication.

May Allah Almighty bestow His peace on us all- I leave you with some wise words:

“Conflict is like fire, it can keep you warm, and can cook your food, but if it gets out of control, it can burn down your house.” (Free to Grow Lifeskills)

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