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Saturday, December 4, 2010

In Conflict, Working ‘The Third Side’

“When angry you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

~(from) William Ury.

When we’re in conflict, we surely must ask, “What’s really at stake here?”

What are at stake are unity and the common objective. When unity is under threat, civilisation—especially even microcosmically, i.e., at the familial, partner and team levels—starts to disintegrate. And when the common objective—and there always is one—is under threat, anarchy is the logical next step. This is not good.

Disjointed and perplexed, two divergent parties are further frustrated by the other.

Bringing About a Third Side

If unity is under threat we must seek a ‘third side’ perspective. This perspective of the person who’s disconnected to the argument is reminding us of the need for both unity and the common objective—that is, the things that both/all parties can believe in.

The third side is the all-encompassing respect and kindness allowed of a vital disconnectedness to the conflict. The other two sides are essentially the ‘us’ and ‘them’ sides. Without a third side perspective, it’s a case of ‘never the twain shall meet’.

It doesn’t need to be a separate person who takes this third side perspective.

Parties to the dispute can easily take a third side perspective—indeed anyone can—but it requires awareness and emotional effort to remain disconnected emotionally, and plugged into the group cause.

There is something more important than our perspective. It’s the shared perspective.

Conflicts – In Truth – Are Always Regretful (Unless We View Them Later as Learning/Growing Opportunities)

Wherever we’re shaped emotionally and divisively we are bound to make errors of judgment, purely because we’re no longer holding all matters in their proper perspective. Our views have skewed and we’re being won to partiality. This, again, is not good; not for us or them.

We’ll end up regretting it. If not in an hour, certainly in a day, a week, a month, next year... or heaven forbid, in the next lifetime, if we take these horrible skirmishes into pride beyond reproach.

The truth about conflict is this:

Blessing can only occur—whether individually or collectively—when we stare truth right in the eyes, to establish congruence. We must deal with our dissonance. In terms of conflict, it is getting in the way of blessing. Only when we resolve our conflicts can we know genuine blessing.

It compels us, consequently, to nip our conflicts at the bud as quickly, as tightly and as effectively as we can. Happiness, contentment and peace depend on it.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: must go to William Ury, guru on Negotiation and co-author with Roger Fisher of Getting to Yes, speaking to the title, The walk from “no” to “yes”. This can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/user/tedtalksdirector?blend=1&ob=4#p/u/2/Hc6yi_FtoNo

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