Often when people have conflict, it comes down to expectations. Roommates may fight because of different expectations of how clean the home should be. A couple may fight because of expectations of how a relationship should be. Parents fight with their children because they may have different life expectations for them. Coexisting with someone is hard because you have to learn how to compromise with someone who has a different set of expectations than you do.
This is difficult because your mind is trained to see things that are different as being negative. Even if you logically see a change, or a difference as a positive thing, your subconscious mind can be hard to convince. One of the greatest things you can do for yourself is learn how to look at situations from an objective standpoint. Here are some tips on how you can be more mindful about different expectation in a situation of conflict.
1. Take a time out.
We have this association that time outs are punishment for getting out of control. That's how we teach our children to behave. But timeouts are necessary even as you get older. They give you time to think. They give you time to work through your feelings before you act on them. They give you the option to not react, but to take mindful action instead.
2. Understand that you don't have to respond right away.
In a time of conflict, we have adrenaline going, and a deep desire to get our way. The combination leads to disaster. So along the same lines of taking time out, don't react right away. Get into the habit of saying "Let's come back to this." If the other person is talking or getting upset, at any point you have the right to say "I need to think about this."
3. Practice seeing their side of things.
As every reaction is love or fear based, ask yourself what their reaction is based off of. Are they really trying to help you in some way? Are they trying to better the relationship? Are they afraid of not being heard, losing control or not having their needs met? If their situation is fear based, consider how you lessen that fear without giving in to their demands.
4. Understand where your emotions are coming from.
Are your reactions love or fear based? Are you trying to gain control, or are you trying to better the situation? Acknowledging your fear helps tremendously in dealing with it, realizing your motivations can help you better compromise in a difficult situation.
5. Remember that people are autonomous.
This one may sound a little strange, but if you find yourself thinking about how easy things would be if they would just do things your way, this is important. When we're in conflict with someone, we want them to validate our side by agreeing to what we have to say. But we have to realize that everyone comes from their own background. Every person has their own way of thinking, doing and being. They aren't our puppets to control and we aren't saving them by making them come to our way of thinking. Embracing someone as a human with their own will goes a long way in resolving conflict in a more mindful way.