By Dick Eisman
Over the past 23 years I have often sat with clients who were “stuck” with a specific circumstance that seemed to throttle their ability to be open to another’s point of view. Frustration and anger block any potential for their understanding or respect for a different point of view. Resentments fester and simmer until the pot boils over into an adversarial confrontation. And for married couples this can stress their relationship to the breaking point.
Too often we fail to realize that there are myriad ways to view the same situation. Our individual histories and personal variables all combine to make us who we are. And surprise….we are different. So, is it any wonder that we are often conflicted when dealing with our partners? Men are from Mars…and so forth.
Enter the mediator. A neutral third party, not personally involved, holding both parties’ viewpoints safe, without passing judgment. Actively listening to both parties and their perspectives. Re-phrasing combative language and holding a place at the table for each to experience a safe and open exchange.
The results are most often remarkable.
Pathways open. Honest and sincere feelings come to the forefront. Slowly, bridges begin to build and what was once a huge, insurmountable challenge becomes a joint problem-solving effort. Language and tones soften. Compassion begins to play a part. And instead of arguing and pointing blame, both parties experience a change of direction. They are ready to move forward constructively, positively.
None of us enjoy being in conflict. We all seek comfort and understanding. We all want to be loved and cared for. However, the fact is that this is simply not our experience. Bumps in our “roadway to life” are bound to cross our pathways. The smooth sailing we seek is challenged by the waves that life sends our way, sometimes crashing over us. Coming up for air and being able to return to “normal” is the challenge. How we will deal with it is our choice.