If this newsletter does not display correctly, read it online.
Equipped to...Say Yes To You!
It’s true what the posters say – women HAVE come a long way, baby! Laws against descrimation of women in the workplace are fully entrenched, and we are seeing more and more women in top management positions every day. Sadly, however, we are also still seeing shockingly high numbers of violent crimes committed against women – rape and domestic abuse being two of the most heinous.
From 25 November to 10 December, we will be witnessing events in support of 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women, with November 25 declared as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Part of these events is the Thursdays in Black campaign, which was launched in South Africa by the Diakonia Council of Churches at the end of 2008. I am a huge supporter of this ongoing drive to raise awareness and encourage people to work towards a world without rape and violence against women and children.
While these events do an incredible job of drawing international attention to the situation affecting thousands of women, there are many empowering things that women themselves can do to every day to help safeguard against creating situations in which abuse can occur.
The definition of conflict varies from person to person and ranges from minor disagreements, antagonism and incompatibility, to hostile, heated arguments, bullying and physical violence. Many people say they "don't like conflict" or they "avoid conflict at all costs." What they actually mean is - they don't like disagreeing with others, and avoid it at all costs. This usually happens because they are afraid of being seen as a “horrible” person or a “trouble causer,” and that it’s “better” to avoid an unpleasant situation rather than deal with it.
The truth is, avoiding conflict is unhealthy, and can lead to patterns of interaction that are destructive and possibly even dangerous in the long term. Conflict in itself is not bad. Knowing how to deal with it is what counts. If we know how to cope with conflict, we will learn to be less fearful of it, and learn to use it to enhance our relationships, be they personal, social or work related.
View conflict as an opportunity to analyse the situation objectively, assess the needs of all concerned and come up with healthy solutions.
Learn how to master the five conflict strategies, create win-win situations and successfully Cope With Conflict.
Don’t Be An Ass – Be Assertive
Assertiveness involves being aware of your feelings, and knowing what you want. It is the ability to express your thoughts and feelings in a way that clearly states your needs, while keeping the lines of communication open. It does not, however, involve selfish or bullying-type behaviour.
When you are assertive, you give yourself and your particular needs the same respect and dignity you would give anyone else’s. You develop self-respect, self-worth and self-confidence, and in turn gain the respect of others. Assertiveness is also an awareness of your basic rights as a human being.
Becoming an assertive person means you are more clearly understood - without having to resort to aggression, sarcasm or deviousness. As a result, you are less angry, frustrated and anxious. This makes you much nicer to be around - meaning people are far less likely to respond aggressively towards you and will feel happier doing what you want them to.
Understand your basic rights as a human being, and learn how to become more assertive.
Communicate In Style
There are five main styles of communication – learning to recognise and cope with other people’s styles is key to coping with potential conflict situations.
Assertive communication – in most situations, this is the healthiest and most effective style of communication. It is the sweet spot between being too aggressive and too passive.
Aggressive communication is all about winning – often at someone else's expense. An aggressive person behaves as if their needs are the most important, as though they have more rights, and have more to contribute than other people.
Passive-aggressive communicators appear passive on the surface but are actually acting out their anger in indirect or behind-the-scenes ways. They express their feelings of powerlessness and resentment by subtly undermining the object (real or imagined) of their resentments – even if this ends up sabotaging themselves.
Submissive communication is about pleasing other people and avoiding conflict. A submissive person behaves as if other peoples' needs are more important, and other people have more rights and more to contribute. In certain dangerous situations, however (mugging, hijacking etc) a submissive attitude is advisable.
Manipulative communication is scheming, calculating and shrewd. Manipulative communicators are skilled at influencing or controlling others to their own advantage.
Understand your own communication style, learn to identify others’ styles, and develop a more assertive style of communication.
Image by: Wildcat Dunny
Have something to say?
If you have a personal story of how you have turned a potentially dangerous conflict situation into a healthy exchange of opinions and ideas, I would love to hear from you.
Watch out for my next newsletter where you will be
Tip! Save these newsletters and accumulate the series on Build Better Relationships.
The email was sent to: