When I was in grade school, our school counselors implemented a “peer mediation” program. Now, as adults, conflict can be much more complicated and it’s not easy to self-mediate.

In school, there was a group of us assembled to be peer mediators, or rather to be the middle ground, safe zone, moderator for our classmates in an argument. The goal was not to take sides or to be the one to come up with a solution, but rather to listen and encourage both parties to do the same so they could see things from all points of view.

Here are a few things that apply to successful conflict resolution, no matter what age:

  1. Distance Yourself. Put some distance between yourself and the conflict and get out of your own head! Take a breath and gain some perspective–try your best to see the situation from other points of view. 
  2. Size it Down. Put the magnitude of the problem in to perspective. Does the issue really deserve that amount of your energy? Chances are, once you diminish the importance of the situation, it will be a lot easier to visualize how to solve and move past it.

  3. Quiet the Ego. No more blame, finger-pointing and complaining. Take out the emotion and really decide what it is that you want to accomplish and if your expectations are reasonable. If you can’t see past the problem to arrive at a solution, you’re still too emotionally attached. Do you really want a resolution or do you want to be right?
  4. Change for Change. You have to be willing to change if you want to create change! Be flexible and understanding. You can’t possibly accomplish anything if you refuse to negotiate the situation.

Most importantly, know that great things can come from conflict and resolution. If you’ve got the passion and fortitude to seek change, don’t forget that it requires creativity and some degree of failure and discomfort. Not every person is going to agree with you and if they do, perhaps the change you’re seeking isn’t very important. But when you’re faced with opposition, a little “self-mediation” goes a long way.

“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas”
-Donatella Versace

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