Read the exercise below. Give a brief synopsis of the conflict and both sides’ positions, complete the required columns, reevaluate the conflict and your position, and give a brief synopsis of the final outcome. Make sure you include in your final outcome synopsis if your thoughts and position changed after doing the exercise, why or why not? Each synopsis should be a 1⁄2 page in length.
Think of a conflict you have with someone at the moment or a conflict that you know of and have an opinion about. On a piece of paper in the left hand column write down all the stories you are telling yourself about the person (or people) involved in the conflict (opposition). All the feelings, thoughts, judgments, labels, conclusions that are running through your head.
In the right hand column write down all the Facts. These are observable, objective, specific actions and information. In this column you must set aside your personal bias and emotions and be open and honest regarding the conflict and the people involved.
As you look at your list you may find that the story you have been telling yourself is not fully supported by all of the facts. That you have made many assumptions and interpretations about what the other person’s or people’s behavior MIGHT mean, and/or what their intentions really are. Have you ever heard the saying, “We judge others by their actions, but ourselves by our intentions”? You don’t truly know what the other person’s intentions are without asking and looking at the situation from an objective perspective.
This exercise is not designed to cause you to not address your concerns, its purpose is to help you wash down any over-heated emotions and biases you may have coursing through your body. Now, you will be more likely to hold this crucial confrontation with less accusation and more curiosity. You are more likely to be more open-minded to the opposition’s viewpoint, needs, and perspective instead of strictly your own.