Human relationships are the source of the deepest joy and connection, although they might sometimes be challenging to work with. They trigger our wounds and our growth, but as relationships are where we get hurt, that’s where we go to heal as well.
This is why learning how to deal with confrontation is essential. And it’s not only encouraged by psychologists but also by spiritual masters.
My father always used to say, ‘Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.’— Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner
Instead of running away from conflict, imagine a world where imperfections are embraced, where uniqueness is celebrated, and we feel called to carry those difficult conversations with an open heart.
That’s why Mindvalley teamed up with a leading expert in communication, Lisa Nichols, to teach you how to create that kind of world. The fantastic news is that it’s not only possible in a utopian future, but you can start right now by learning:
- What Is a Confrontational Situation and How to Recognize You’re in One
- 3 Tips on How to Deal With Confrontation
So next time you find yourself in a confrontation, you’ll know how to make the most of it.
What Is a Confrontational Situation and How to Recognize You’re in One?
A confrontational situation is an argumentative context where two people have opposable views on a specific issue. The nature of it could be personal, professional, or even with total strangers.
For so many reasons, we can have arguments in our relationships. It could be for what we do, what we say, or even for what we don’t say. The important thing is to learn how to handle conflict according to our own management style.
As long as human beings are imperfect beings, their relationships are going to have some level of dysfunction to them. When we strive to make it perfect, we move into a space of unrealism.— Lisa Nichols, trainer of Mindvalley’s Speak and Inspire Quest
Watch out for these signs to notice when a peaceful conversation turns into a confrontation (a.k.a your next chance for growth).
- Body language (crossed arms, leg shaking, avoiding eye contact)
- Passive aggressive jokes or comments
- Behavioral changes (for example, someone suddenly being silent although it’s out of character)
- Lack of tolerance towards your opinion
- Emphasis on blaming (“You did this” or “You made me feel this way”)
You might identify yourself as someone who often experiences fear of confrontation. Or you may get so fired up during conflict that you completely lose your sense of self. Either way, you can and you will grow beyond this.
3 Tips on How to Deal With Confrontation
So, what can you do when you find yourself in these challenging situations? Lisa Nichols, who’s also the trainer of Mindvalley’s Speak and Inspire Quest, may just have a solution for you… It’s a magnificent concept called care-frontation.
Care-frontation is, as per Lisa, “the intention of completing the conversation with the relationship still intact.” It dismantles the “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality and focuses on using conflict to empower connection.
Let’s explore these three tips on how to deal with confrontation and turn it around in favor of your relationship.
1. Honor and acknowledge the person you’re speaking to
Confrontation stems from the energy of one person being right and the other being wrong. This energy is immediately divisive and destroys trust because whenever anyone makes you feel unheard, you stop leaning into the difficult conversation with openness and vulnerability.
Therefore, feeling worthy of being listened to and taken into consideration is a must for any care-frontation. Lisa beautifully suggests starting with one of the following statements:
- “What I appreciate about you is…”
- “What I respect most about you is…”
- “What I admire about you is…”
Moreover, a key component of maintaining connection during a challenging talk is addressing the other person by their name when acknowledging them. This way, the feeling of safety and appreciation will be increased.
Put into practice: Imagine a situation where you need to know how to deal with confrontation at work. Your colleague has continuously made the same mistake you’ve repeatedly pointed out before. But instead of making a passive-aggressive comment and risking getting into a conflictual situation, you start by saying:
“Larry, what I admire about you is your willingness to get things done as soon as possible. However, in this situation, I think we need a little bit more patience.”
2. Make a genuine request
People often have the impression that they shouldn’t express their needs. They hope that, somehow, everyone will read their minds, get what they want, and provide accordingly.
Unfortunately, most times, that doesn’t happen. As a consequence, expectations aren’t met and conflict builds up. But what if, just for the sake of the experiment, you start the conversation by making a genuine request?
Lisa encourages you to begin with:
- “I need your support in…”
- “What would work better for me is…”
- “Can we make a new agreement to…?”
These words could dismantle defense. They might even hurt your ego. But when your ego is put aside, you’ll notice that your relationships are actually more important to you than being right. And how beautiful will that turn out to be?
Put into practice: Lisa provides a great example of how to deal with confrontation with your boss. Instead of waiting for them to assume what your needs truly are, you could try being honest and say something like:
“Can we make a new agreement to let me know when you need some extra help with this? I know you appreciate being proactive, but sometimes my to-do list is overwhelming, and I don’t notice when there’s more to be done in this situation.”
3. Be consistent with your care-frontation practice
Lisa emphasizes consistency when learning how to deal with confrontation.
Make a bold declaration, and don’t ask for permission on who you are and who you are becoming. You don’t ever ask permission to do you. The world takes time to adapt to who you are when you’re being consistent.— Lisa Nichols, trainer of Mindvalley’s Speak and Inspire Quest
So after you get the core elements of a productive care-frontation, you put it into practice, and you see the results, what’s next?
The truth is that conflict might arise again. And even if falling back into your old patterns of arguing fiercely seems irresistible, you must be consistent and do this work again. And again.
Someone else’s response could interrupt your consistency and make you doubt your new approach to assertive communication. Just because you’re changing doesn’t automatically mean they will be growing at the same pace you do.
However, the reality shows that people’s response to you has nothing to do with who you want to be and how you decide to show up.
In time, you might be surprised how they adapt to your communication manner. Little by little, the anxiety you have on how to deal with confrontation will dissolve.
Put into practice: Imagine having an argument with your partner, and you’re trying to turn the confrontation into a care-frontation. But they aren’t responsive. They still appear to be too fired up to deal with a kinder way of carrying out a conflict. You can try saying:
“I can see how much you’re touched by this issue. I’d love it if we could resolve it in a different way. It might not work from the beginning, but I’m willing to show up better each time.”
Learn More With Lisa
Studying the theory of personal growth and self-awareness in times of peace is amazing. But what’s truly transformational is how you practice everything you’ve discovered when you get triggered and distressed.
If you’re looking for ways to show up as a better version of yourself when you need to communicate efficiently, Mindvalley is the place to be. Being guided by Lisa Nichols through the Speak and Inspire Quest will open up a new world for you.
A world of communicating with authenticity, grace, and assertiveness. A world where your real self is the most desirable person that you can become.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Welcome in.