In my previous post, I provided a link to a really funny video by Bill Harley. I recommend you watch it before reading this post for two reasons:
- It's funny and we all need a good laugh now and then.
- It will give you some context for this post.
Now, on with the topic of this post.
Focusing on past wrongs often derails conflict resolution efforts. When we stay locked in a “Is Not! Is Too!” type of discussion, we focus on what went wrong in the past rather than consciously choosing to look to where resolution lies — in the future.
Focusing on the past keeps us locked in the past. We stay locked in our anger, frustration, hurt, irritation, or whatever else we choose to call our emotional state. When we are locked in a negative emotional response; we move towards blame, shame, and criticism rather than towards grace, understanding, and resolution.
Conflict resolution isn't about deciding who was right or wrong. It is about finding a way to move forward. It's about the future. What has already happened has already happened. It cannot be changed.
Resolution lies in the future. It lies in solving a problem. It lies in building bridges of understanding between people. It lies in finding a way to work together even if we don't particularly like each other.
If you want to resolve a conflict, choose to focus your conversation on what you will do from this point forward rather than on what happened in the past. Remember to…
Focus on the Future.