Mastering Conflict: Tips for Understanding & Overcoming
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Assess the situation
  2. Identify your emotions
  3. Practice listening skills
  4. Use 'I' statements
  5. Seek to understand before being understood
  6. Work towards a resolution
  7. Use conflict as an opportunity
  8. Implement effective communication techniques
  9. Maintain a positive attitude
  10. Seek professional help if needed

Conflict is a part of life. It can arise from within us or come from outside factors. But don't worry, understanding internal and external conflict isn't as hard as it sounds. With the right tools and a little bit of patience, you can become a master of conflict resolution. This blog post shares practical tips and techniques to help you navigate through the stormy seas of conflict and come out stronger on the other side. Let's get started with our first tip: assessing the situation.

Assess the Situation

Before you jump into action, take a moment to fully assess the situation. This is an important step in understanding both internal and external conflict. Here's how you can do it:

  • Take a Step Back: Emotions can cloud our judgment. So, it's important to distance yourself from the situation momentarily. This can help you see things more objectively.
  • Identify the Conflict: Is the conflict internal or external? An internal conflict is a struggle within yourself, such as a moral dilemma or a decision you're finding hard to make. An external conflict, on the other hand, involves an outside force like a disagreement with another person or a challenging situation at work.
  • Understand the Impact: How is this conflict affecting you or others involved? Understanding the impact can help you gauge the severity of the situation and guide your next steps.
  • Recognize the Trigger: What caused this conflict? Recognizing the trigger can help you address the root cause instead of just dealing with the symptoms.

Remember, assessing the situation isn't about assigning blame or jumping to conclusions. It's about understanding the nature of the conflict and its impact, so you can make informed decisions on how to approach it. So, take a deep breath, step back, and assess the situation. It's your first step towards understanding internal and external conflict, and ultimately, mastering it.

Identify Your Emotions

Understanding internal and external conflict isn't just about figuring out what's happening on the surface. It's also about digging a little deeper and identifying the emotions at play. After all, emotions are the fuel that often ignites the spark of conflict.

  • Pinpoint Your Feelings: Are you feeling angry, hurt, frustrated, or confused? It's vital to identify and name your emotions. This not only helps you understand what you're feeling but also why you're feeling that way.
  • Recognize Their Influence: Emotions can influence our thoughts and actions. Recognizing this can help you manage your reactions in conflict situations.
  • Validate Your Emotions: Remember, it's okay to feel what you're feeling. Validating your emotions is an important part of the process. It's not about whether your emotions are right or wrong—it's about acknowledging them.

Identifying your emotions might sound like a simple task, but it's often more challenging than we think. It requires honesty, self-awareness, and sometimes, a bit of courage. But trust me, it's worth it. By understanding your emotions, you're one step closer to mastering conflict and maintaining healthier relationships.

Practice Listening Skills

Listening is more than just hearing the words that are being said. In the context of understanding internal and external conflict, it's about truly hearing and absorbing the other person's perspective. This can sometimes be tough, especially when emotions are running high. But it's a skill that can be developed with practice.

  • Active Listening: This means not just hearing, but actively engaging with the speaker. Nodding, maintaining eye contact, and reflecting back what you heard are all part of active listening. It shows the speaker that you value their words and are making an effort to understand their point of view.
  • Don’t Interrupt: When we're in a conflict, it's tempting to interrupt and put our own points across. But remember, there's a time to speak and a time to listen. Interrupting can send the message that you're not interested in what the other person has to say.
  • Ask Clarifying Questions: If something isn't clear, ask. This shows you're engaged and want to understand fully. Plus, it can help prevent misunderstandings that might escalate the conflict.

Let's face it—good listening skills can be a game-changer. Not only can they help in resolving conflicts, but they also build stronger, more respectful relationships. So, next time you find yourself in a conflict situation, remember to lend an ear—it might just make the difference.

Use 'I' Statements

One of the most effective tools in understanding internal and external conflict and communicating effectively during a disagreement is the use of 'I' statements. Rather than saying "You did this" or "You made me feel," shift your language to express how you feel and what your needs are. Doing so can reduce defensiveness and open the door to more productive discussions.

  • Express your feelings: Start your statement by saying "I feel..." and then describe your emotion. For instance, "I feel upset" or "I feel ignored." This helps you to own your feelings rather than blaming them on someone else.
  • Describe the behavior: Next, describe the specific action that led to your feelings. For example, "I feel upset when you don't consult me before making decisions that affect us both."
  • Explain the impact: Lastly, explain why the action matters to you. You could say, "I feel upset when you don't consult me before making decisions that affect us both because it makes me feel like my opinion doesn't matter."

'I' statements are not about attacking or blaming, but about expressing yourself and your feelings. Remember, the goal is understanding, not winning. So, the next time you find yourself in the middle of a heated discussion, take a deep breath, and try using an 'I' statement.

Seek to Understand Before Being Understood

When it comes to understanding internal and external conflict, one of the most powerful shifts you can make is to prioritize understanding the other person's perspective before seeking to have your own understood. This approach, while it may seem counterintuitive, can often lead to more effective communication and resolution of conflicts.

So how can you put this into action? The process is simpler than you might think:

  1. Listen Actively: Make a conscious effort to really hear what the other person is saying, rather than formulating your own response while they're still speaking. Remember, there's a big difference between waiting for your turn to talk and genuinely listening.
  2. Ask Clarifying Questions: If something isn't clear to you, ask. This shows the other person you're trying to understand their point of view and can prevent miscommunication.
  3. Paraphrase Their Point of View: Try to summarize what you think they're saying in your own words. This can not only demonstrate that you've been listening but also allows them to correct any misconceptions.
  4. Express Empathy: Even if you don't agree with their perspective, you can still validate their feelings. Statements like "I can see why you would feel that way" can go a long way in building understanding.

By seeking to understand before being understood, you're not only showing respect for the other person's feelings and perspective, but you're also creating a more open and receptive environment for your own thoughts and feelings to be heard. It's a win-win!

Work Towards a Resolution

Navigating through both internal and external conflict is no easy task. But, once you've taken the time to understand the other party's perspective, it's time to roll up your sleeves and work towards finding a resolution. But how exactly do you do that?

  1. Identify Common Ground: Start by finding areas where you agree. This can help to create a sense of unity and collaboration, making the process of resolving the conflict that much smoother.
  2. Brainstorm Solutions: Once you've laid the groundwork by identifying common ground, it's time to brainstorm potential solutions. Keep in mind that the best solutions are usually the ones that meet the needs of all parties involved.
  3. Choose a Solution: After brainstorming, review your list of potential solutions. Weigh the pros and cons of each, and then choose the one that seems to be the most beneficial and feasible for everyone involved.
  4. Implement the Solution: Now that you've chosen a solution, it's time to put it into action. This may require a bit of trial and error, but that's okay. The important thing is that you're making progress towards resolving the conflict.
  5. Follow Up: After the solution has been implemented, make sure to follow up to see how things are going. This will help to ensure that the resolution is working as intended and that the conflict has been effectively resolved.

Remember, working towards a resolution requires patience and perseverance. It may be a bit of a process, but the reward—a resolution to the conflict—is well worth the effort.

Use Conflict as an Opportunity

Conflict, whether internal or external, isn't typically something we look forward to. But instead of viewing conflict as a negative, what if you could see it as an opportunity? A change of perspective could make all the difference.

  1. Learn About Yourself: Internal conflict can often provide a deeper understanding of your own emotions, desires, and values. It's a chance to learn more about who you are and what matters to you.
  2. Develop Empathy: Engaging in external conflict can help you understand other people's viewpoints better. It's an opportunity to step into their shoes and see things from their perspective. This can enhance your empathy skills, which are key for effective communication and maintaining healthy relationships.
  3. Improve Problem-Solving Skills: Conflict often requires us to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. This can help to improve your problem-solving skills, making you better equipped to handle future conflicts and challenges.
  4. Promote Growth: Conflict can be uncomfortable, but it's often in these uncomfortable situations that we experience the most growth. By navigating through conflict, you can become a stronger, more resilient person.

So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of conflict, remember to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Instead of seeing it as a problem, try to see it as an opportunity—an opportunity for growth, understanding, and betterment.

Implement Effective Communication Techniques

Effective communication is a powerful tool in understanding internal and external conflict. It's not just about talking—it's about listening, understanding, and responding in a way that promotes clarity and resolution. Here are some techniques to help you improve your communication skills during conflicts:

  1. Active Listening: Pay close attention to what the other person is saying. Show that you're truly engaged in the conversation by nodding, maintaining eye contact, and giving appropriate responses. This shows respect for their viewpoint and can help diffuse tension.
  2. Clear and Concise Language: Be straightforward with your thoughts and feelings. Avoid using ambiguous or confusing language. The clearer you are, the less room there is for misunderstandings.
  3. Non-Verbal Communication: Remember, communication isn't just verbal. Your body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice can all convey messages. Try to ensure these non-verbal cues align with your words to avoid sending mixed signals.
  4. Empathy: Try to understand the other person's feelings and point of view. This doesn't mean you have to agree with them, but showing empathy can help to build a mutual respect and understanding.

By mastering these communication techniques, you'll be better equipped to handle any conflict that comes your way. Remember, it's not about winning or losing—it's about understanding and growth.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Keeping a positive mindset can be a game-changer when you're trying to understand internal and external conflict. It's easier said than done, but here are some strategies that might help:

  1. Stay Solution-Focused: Instead of dwelling on the problem, shift your focus towards finding a solution. This approach will not only keep you positive but also make the conflict resolution process more productive.
  2. Practice Gratitude: Even in the midst of conflict, find small things to be grateful for. This simple act can help shift your perspective and promote a more positive outlook.
  3. Stay Calm: It's natural to feel frustrated or anxious during conflict, but try to stay as calm as possible. Deep breathing, mindfulness, or simply taking a break can help keep your emotions in check.
  4. Remember, It's Temporary: No matter how tough the conflict may seem, remember that it's temporary and it will pass. This thought can help you maintain a positive attitude even in difficult times.

Embracing a positive attitude doesn't mean ignoring the conflict, but it helps you approach the situation from a place of understanding and resolution. And who knows, you might even find a silver lining amidst the conflict!

Seek Professional Help if Needed

While understanding internal and external conflict can often be managed effectively with self-help strategies and open communication, there are times when professional help may be beneficial. If you're feeling overwhelmed, or if the conflict is causing significant distress, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional.

  1. Therapists and Counselors: These professionals can provide a safe space for you to explore your feelings, identify sources of conflict, and develop effective coping strategies. They can offer insights that you might not have considered, helping you navigate the conflict more effectively.
  2. Mediators: In situations where the conflict involves another person or a group, a professional mediator can be very helpful. They can facilitate a dialogue, ensuring that all parties are heard and that the discussion stays productive. Their objective viewpoint can often help find a resolution that satisfies everyone.
  3. Support Groups: Sometimes, it can be helpful to talk to others who are experiencing similar conflicts. Support groups, both online and offline, can provide a sense of community and shared experience that can be very comforting.

Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a proactive step towards understanding and resolving conflict. No matter how complex or challenging the situation, there are resources available to help you navigate through it.

If you found the tips in "Mastering Conflict: Tips for Understanding & Overcoming" helpful, you may also want to explore the workshop 'How to Deal: Navigating Digital Boundaries' by Grace Miceli. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights on managing conflicts in the digital world and maintaining healthy boundaries in your online interactions.