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'Conflict Resolution' by Ayesha Shafiq

“Bringing a problem to resolution and closure through continued discussion and compromise is an honorable act as it shows respect for the needs of both partners.”   — Lynne Namka.

Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra columnist
Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra columnist

Conflict is a situation created in almost everyday life. Not all people are alike and not every situation in life is guided by one person’s values, motivations, perceptions, ideas or desires. There will always be two sides to every story and every situation.

When conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is often at the core of the problem. This need can be a need for security, identity, recognition, importance or merely a need to survive.

Hence, the needs of both parties play important roles in the long-term success of most relationships and each deserves respect and consideration.

If one can acquire the ability to examine the conflicting needs of both parties with compassion and understanding, it will lead to creative problem solving, team building and improved relationships.

When people are upset, the words they use rarely convey the issues and needs at the heart of the problem. When we listen to what is felt,

We connect more deeply to the needs of others and understand the emotions behind such needs.

Listening informs us of the true need behind any conflict and makes it easier for us to understand others and their needs and also ourselves and our needs.

However, one’s ability to read another person’s need depends on one’s own emotional awareness as well. The more you are aware of your own emotions; the more you can associate and connect with other people and their feelings.

Your ability to manage all your feelings properly is the basis of a communication process that can resolve conflicts.

Emotional awareness helps you to:

  • Understand yourself, which means, what is actually bothering you.
  • Understand what is troubling other people.
  • Communicate the needs of both parties effectively and clearly.
  • Attract and influence others towards a resolution.
  • Stay motivated till the end when the conflict could be resolved.

Conflict resolution means the ability to quickly reduce stress and bring your emotions and the emotions of others into balance by resolving a matter that threatens the needs of either party.

You can resolve a conflict quickly and efficiently if you stick to the steps mentioned below.

  1. Focus on the present situation: If you are holding grudges based on past experiences, it will impair your vision to see the current situation clearly. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
  2. Listen to what is said and what is felt: Listening connects us more deeply to our needs and the needs of others. It makes it easier for others to listen to us when it is our turn to speak. In the middle of a conflict, pay close attention to the other person’s non-verbal signals. It will make you respond in a way that builds trust and get you to the root of the problem. A calm tone of voice, an interested or concerned facial expression can go a long way towards relaxing a stressful situation.
  3. Introducing humor into a stressful situation: You can resolve many arguments and disagreements if you introduce humor into your communication. Humor can let you say things that might otherwise be difficult to express without offending someone. In this way you can laugh with them and not at them.
  4. Do not focus on winning, focus on conflict resolution: The goal should be strengthening the relationship, rather than winning the argument. Be respectful of each other’s needs.
  5. Pick your battles wisely to win the war: Choose your battles wisely. Since battles are time consuming and draining. It will take your focus from resolving the WAR. Focus your energies towards the resolution of your goal, which is ending the war.
  6. Know when to let go: If you cannot come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument. You can choose to disengage and move on.

The key to resolving conflicts is to not feel threatened by them but to accept them as means of communication to understand each other’s needs. Rather than avoiding a conflict, one must be brave to face the conflict head on with the capacity to respond to the things that matter to each party and should have the readiness to compromise, forgive and forget without holding resentment.

This ability to recognize and respond to the things that matter to either party, without having angry, hurtful and resentful reactions strengthens a relationship bond and increases one’s understanding of another while building trust at the same time towards a long lasting relationship.

By Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra columnist  


Ayesha Shafiq is Director of Paris Cardiology Center, wife of Khalid Shafiq M.D. and mother of their 2 children. She’s been the director of Paris Cardiology Center for 11 years. She holds a Masters in International Relations and runs management with the help of 22 employees.

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