Kit Steinkellner
October 16, 2014 9:01 am

It’s Conflict Resolution Day! Maybe it’s time for a little forgiveness?

“But how?” you ask. “My conflicts are INTENSE. The people I’m in conflict with WILL NOT BACK DOWN. Also, I’m right about everything and no one seems to understand!”

Hush, my heart, I feel your pain, I’m right about everything too and my life’s great struggle is trying to get people to understand that.

Nevertheless, it sucks to have a conflict that goes unresolved for months. . . years. . . forever. So if you’re in a bad way with someone, there is hope! Below, a list of ways to get out of that and find a some peace.

1. Apologize (even if you’re not sorry)

This is one of the best lessons about conflict resolution I’ve EVER learned. Because sometimes you’re straight-up not sorry! But you need to get out of a fight, and apologizing is a magic thing that helps. If getting out of this fight is more important to you than being right, I rec this highly.

2. But maybe you should be sorry

You have to be real with yourself. Did you mess up a little? Are you being selfish/combative/manipulative/basically anything that might seriously piss people off? Take a good long hard look at yourself and, to quote my best friend ever, Gandhi, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

3. If neither one of you will back down, get a mediator

You can get a therapist to professionally mediate a serious throw-down, there’s no shame in that, it’s allowed. Or get a third-party that loves you both equally. Sometimes you just need someone from the outside to tell you what to do.

4. Just remember, it’s really hard to change a person’s deeply held beliefs, so really think Hard before trying to do that

What I’m trying to say, is that you’re not going to change a person’s mind about religion or politics, so make sure THAT is not the crux of your argument, because if it is, you are SOL.

5. Maybe wait for a time when you’re both not super pissed to try to talk it out

If you get into a heated thing with someone, table it for a day or two if possible, you might actually be able to have a conversation rather than a screaming match.

6. If you really messed up, you need to take big steps to make it right

Really change your ways. Actions speak louder than words, y’all. This might take some time. You might have to prove yourself over and over again before you are trusted/forgiven. You might have to be crazy patient. That’s what happens when you screw up a lot of the time, welcome to being a human on a planet with other humans.

7. A big, grand, romantic gesture might not be out-of-place

Look there’s a reason Heath Ledger sings to Julia Stiles on the bleachers and buys her a super-cool guitar in 10 Things I Hate About You and that reason is IT WORKS.

8. You might need to just get out of that relationship

Are you in a toxic relationship? Is this person always going to be terrible to you? Is this boyfriend never going to love you the way you deserve to be loved? Are your parents not going to accept you for who you are? You might need to just leave that relationship for a while. You might need to leave forever. I don’t know. But if you look deep into your heart, like DEEP DEEP, like as deep as your heart goes, you will know.

9. 99% of problems are not going to bug you on your deathbed

I know a blow-up with your friend or a teary fight with your parents is the worst thing ever today. It might be the worst thing ever tomorrow. But it won’t be on your deathbed when you’re 108 years old. You don’t have to have perspective right this second, just trust you’ll have it someday. And if you think that someday you’re going to think this fight was REALLY DUMB, try to fix it, you know, now.

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