Compassionate Confrontation

In addressing conflict and considering confrontation, the best way to deal with other people is to be mindful, present, and compassionate in your interactions.

Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. When they speak, listen. When they have said what they need to say, before you respond, imagine how the situation is hurting them. See if what you need to say will add to their pain or ease it. If you are suffering too much to imagine the other person’s pain, then connect with your own feelings of hurt. See if you are angry. If you are hurt and angry, confrontations can be explosive. Be careful.

Pausing to recognize how you feel gives you the opportunity to take in what the other person said. Thinking about how they are feeling, gives you the opportunity to empathize and imagine the situation from their perspective. Seeing things from another person’s perspective gets you outside of your own head. Like looking at the clouds in the sky, it helps you focus outward. Listening and empathizing helps you be both present and compassionate. If you are hurt and angry, pausing allows you to be more skillful in your confrontation.

Being able to recognize the truth in what other people are saying, seeing how they are right and you are wrong, gives you insight into your own position. If you need to convince the other person how you are right and they are wrong, then understanding where they are wrong and right helps you focus your argument in a way they might better understand.

Being present and compassionate in your interactions with people gives you options about what the best way to respond might be. Having options and taking the time to reflect on options lets you connect with your wisdom and make the best choice. In the next moment, see how that choice went over and make your next choice. If you are skillfully compassionate, whether confronting or agreeing, the suffering in the situation will ease.

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