Conflict Resolution Series: Living with Disappointment or Unresolved Issues
There will come a time when you have a conflict you can’t resolve. Perhaps it is a nasty divorce or an unjust firing. Maybe someone misjudged you and spread rumors that aren’t true, and they won’t recant them. Someday, sometime, someone is going to leave you mad as hell, and the unresolved conflict and disappointment will linger in your mind.
What are you going to do?
When you are faced with unresolved conflict, there is a three-step process for managing it and moving on.
- Acknowledge it
- Work the issue
- Let it go
Sometimes acknowledging that an issue can’t be resolved takes way too long and does damage. People cling to the hope that things will work out. They spin their wheels trying to engage or resolve something and the other party simply won’t come around. Sometimes people are unable - or flat unwilling - to fight fair or resolve issues. Some people love drama, some don’t have skills to face tough issues, and some people can’t control their ego. It doesn’t matter why someone won’t work to sort things out. Realizing when to let it go is often the hardest thing. Waiting too long often causes a lot of needless heartache that can be avoided.
Once the realization has been made that there is no resolution at hand, it is time to work the issue. Look at what is going on and how it happened. Seek to understand what you can control in this situation, which is always one thing - yourself. From your personal perspective, now’s the time to figure out how to live with the unresolved conflict.
Depending on the situation, you may have to make practical plans to manage day-to-day, or you may need to sort out your feelings and come to terms with painful emotional issues. One way or another, commit to sorting out what is, and morph that into a new reality that doesn’t include seeking resolution that won’t come.
Letting things go may conjure up an award-winning Disney song. If that is what it takes, I say let it go, let it go! Letting go of the emotions that come with unresolved conflict can be hard. It is one of the examples where time and distance are often the remedy. The more time and distance that go by, the less acute the emotions feel and the more manageable the sting.
One of the good things about learning to let things go is doing so, in and of itself, becomes a skill set that you can use for future conflict resolution. Once you learn to let go of something beyond your control, you have a reference point for the future.
Having unresolved conflict and the resulting disappointment isn’t ideal, but there are steps you can take to manage it. Face it, work the problem, and let it go so you can be ready for a happier life that you deserve.
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