As a relationship coach, I occasionally get called in when there is a real disagreement that is getting in the way of what people say they want. Even though I’ve been brought in to assist with some pretty serious and even heated deadlocks, I am nevertheless surprised how quickly we usually negotiate some kind of agreement. The truth is, there’s something very powerful about a neutral third party who focuses on solutions, not problems, while at the same time, finding common ground and building a bridge to understanding.
Saving Face May Just Save Your Relationship
There’s also something very powerful about the fact that people are a LOT more mindful of not looking bad in front of a third party so those little careless, incendiary comments or even digs tend to disappear. Imagine that. That’s remarkably helpful when it comes to resolving conflict. It’s very important to remember that when emotions run high, decision-making goes low. That’s because of your body’s hard-wired fight or flight response that was installed as a safety mechanism to insure survival of the species. So even though it may feel bad when you are triggered by a situation, that response is actually an evolutionary advantage that keeps you safe.
Beware Of Foggy Conditions
One of the other ways I help people get beyond stuck is because I really listen to what the people say and help translate so I can quickly help them get down to what’s real. Most arguments tend to happen “up in the fog” where things get murky…hard to see…and the brain has trouble making clear decisions. It’s the same reason we talk about “The Fog of War” because under extreme stress, decision-making suffers greatly, occasionally resulting in tragic, friendly fire accidents. I believe the fog metaphor is incredibly accurate. That’s why I tell my clients about my “low beam strategy.” Just like when you’re driving down the road on a foggy night when conditions are less than ideal, hitting your high beams and speeding ahead is risky and dangerous to say the least. The safest thing to do is to slow down, hit the low beams to see what’s underneath the fog…then proceed with caution.
Emotional “Fog” Clouds Judgement
It’s important to remember that what you think you’re arguing about is seldom what you’re arguing about – there’s always a root issue below the fog. For example, I once had a couple having a protracted and emotional disagreement that they thought regarded finances and estate planning issues…but underneath all of the math and madness…was a couple who simply couldn’t trust one another after too many disappointments and betrayals. Once we addressed the underlying trust issue, we were able to make much more progress. As Albert Einstein famously said, “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”
Clearing Things Up Quickly
If you or someone you know is trapped in “the fog of war,” it can be a dangerous place to try to navigate alone. I can help clear things up much quicker – all the while helping to safely rediscover a clearer, brighter and much more compelling future. All you have to do is reach out.
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Dave Elliott is A Relationship Coach and the founder of Legendary Love For Life.
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