In a world of diversity, it’s the many differences between individuals that bring about the fullness, interest and excitement in life. Unfortunately, it is those very same differences that also lead to discord and conflict in relationships.
Everybody has their own unique worldview. That may seem like an obvious and rather simplistic notion, but one worthy of revisiting nonetheless. Often we fail to take into consideration the difference in another’s perspective when we are engaged in a disagreement. We tend to look at the other person as wrong just because they don’t share our opinion or position. We become competitive about winning the argument without realizing that conflict in relationship is not something to be won or lost.
Disagreements will inevitably arise in every relationship. Whether it is between parents and children, husbands and wives or co-workers and friends, there will always be differences of opinions. A common mistake occurs when those involved adopt a win/lose position which only exacerbates a strained environment. This behavior pattern mounts tension in a relationship and invalidates the thoughts and feelings of others as well. Additionally, this competitive behavior sets up an atmosphere that is unfavorable for reaching the real goal – that of conflict resolution.
There is a better way to address disagreements in relationships. In order to navigate the difficulties between people more efficiently, it helps to learn how to validate another person’s point of view. This can be very challenging due to the limited supply of relationship skills that most people possess.
Practice, however, is the key to becoming proficient in this very important skill. Acknowledging the plausibility of another person’s perspective leads to a greater understanding of how that person thinks. Our personal worldview is largely shaped in childhood by parents, caregivers, teachers and mentors. No two are exactly alike and individual circumstances determine each person’s set of beliefs which they carry into their adult relationships. Learning and practicing the art of validation will yield valuable results when it comes to relationships with family members, friends and co-workers. As a bonus, you may even see those that you have disagreements with trying to follow your example and validate your thoughts and feelings as well.
Relationship skills are worth learning and validating other people’s point of view is, by far, one of the most valuable skills.