Resolve relationship issues that matter to you

Have you ever been annoyed by something and fumed about it on the inside, only upsetting yourself more and more? This behaviour can become detrimental to your mental health and relationship harmony over time.

Some examples:

Don’t they know that I need their help with the morning routine? If they loved me, they would know that I need help and they would help me more.

I’m so annoyed. Everyone is holding me up this morning. I have to be at a meeting in 10 minutes and now I’m going to be late.

Internalising in this way and not discussing problems with the people involved can be a useless exercise. Often the only person affected is you.

Solving the issue

At the centre of almost every conflict I encounter as a mediator is a breakdown in communication, a lack of shared information, a lack of context, a misunderstanding or an incorrect assumption. These errors tear people apart and quickly spiral out of control. Many conflicts can be rectified through purposeful and clear communication.

A step-by-step guide to resolving relationship issues:

  1. As a starting point, try to accept that most people do not have the time or energy to maliciously make your life difficult.
  2. Have compassion. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. We can all do better.
  3. Ask yourself, is this an important issue? Give it a ranking out of 10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest level of importance.
  4. If it is an important issue to you, define what the issue really is. Write it down. Do not generalise or exaggerate. Be specific about what and when it happened.
  5. Be curious to learn about the other person’s perspective.
  6. Ask yourself, ‘why is it an issue?’ Understand your reaction before you start up a conversation.
  7. What can you do to resolve the issue? Are there things you could do differently?
  8. If not, what are you going to ask of the other person? Is your request reasonable?
  9. How can you create a focused opportunity for both of you to talk about the issue? Effective communication takes more time and is more challenging but, as we know, you only get out what you put in. If you have an important issue in your life and would like support in managing a conversation with the other person, consider mediation services as a path to solving the issue in a structured and respectful manner.

By Kate Clark, Legal Director of Clark & Associates Mediation Services, Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and a Nationally Accredited Mediator. www.clarkmediation.com.au  
@respectful_resolutions


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