Friday, September 16, 2016

"Conflict Resolution"

"Wherever You Go, There You Are"

By MajikVixen

Why did my friend suddenly unfriend me?  Why does my neighbor continue to bait the lag monster, when I already asked them politely to limit their script usage?  Why are there so many griefers in the summer?  Why am I being betrayed, what did I do to deserve this?  What in heaven's name is going on in the Second Life universe?!  ...These might be some of the questions I'm sure we have all posed to ourselves at one point or another, in our journeys through the virtual realm of SL.  In the place where one can be anything and do anything they want, what is with all this star-crossed perfection?  People are brilliantly fascinating, and sometimes vicious creatures.  Ego, cliques, greed, drama, investments at stake...  How does one maintain their cool in their escape from real life, when their sanctuary suddenly turns on them?

Conflict, although not the most pleasing thing, is natural and normal.  It is the essence of progression and the strive for success in sentient beings.  Although one thing that relates us to the animals in this aspect, is our flight or fight response (the instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation, which readies one to either resist forcibly, or to run away).  In SL, it's easy to make emotional attachments to our freedoms because they define who we become here.  However, the danger of a group of people having near unlimited freedom, is that one person's freedom will invariably clash with another's.  Thus a conflict is born, and we either lash back out at the person, or we fall back, and the conflict can snowball from there.  So how does one resolve this issue?  Luckily there are a few tools! 

Take some time to evaluate the situation, your first response is almost always emotional, so take a break and come back to it later.  Try to look at the conflict with a third person perspective, separate yourself from your emotions when you feel you are vehemently right.  Make sure you get all the information, sometimes there are language barriers to begin with (use a translator if necessary), and there are also emotional barriers in written text (facial expressions and voice tone don't always come through).  Never lose self control, you can disagree, but do that in a polite and respectful manner.  Treat everyone with respect and remain polite and civil, this way you will not add fuel to the fire.  It is not failing, but rather smart, to take some time to meditate or ask for help, and to not be so quick become a part of the problem.  You can also use active listening skills (communication is not just speaking, it's speaking AND listening).  Active listening also includes mirroring people with phrases like, "If I understand you correctly..." "Am I right in saying..." etc.  Also avoid negative statements, present ideas in a positive, affirmative manner.  In heated situations, separating a person into an instant message to explain their problem, will have them focus on a resolution with you, instead of getting inflamed by other's responses.  If all else fails, let them have the last word and feel good about themselves, do NOT get suckered into debates.  The most important thing one can remember is that everyone always has a very good reason and explanation for what they do, and the actions they take.

These might be hard to put into practice at first, but you need to be patient with yourself.  About the hardest thing for me to accept is that no matter how I try to prevent it, conflict is always inevitable.  It is just the nature of humanity (no matter how much I proclaim myself an Unseelie Succubus Fae.  But now that I have some tools for dealing with it, it's not so bad, and I am glad I can share them with you.  I do find distractions to be very helpful in the matters of separating myself from intense situations, my mind seems to contemplate easier on resolutions while multitasking by a playing a game in SL, building, or writing.  One thing I may have a problem with is trying not to lose my self control.  I find it very hard not to be heard, sometimes the emotions can become very overwhelming for me and they just need to jump right out from inside of me and be acknowledged.  However, because I realize this flaw in myself, I can always take time to ask for guidance from a few trusted friends.  I've also always been a fan of using Dr. Phil's "I" language when explaining my side of things, that seems to help people understand that I own up to my feelings and self growth. 

I wish you peace in your endeavors, even if it is just self actualization with this whole concept - Let there be peace on Earth, and if that is not possible, at least let there be peace within yourself.

Additional Information:
I would like to thank Bugs Larnia who teaches a Merry Meeter class at Faerie Crossing called "Conflict Resolution" which is open to the public and worth going to ...maybe even a few times!  A lot of this article was based on that wonderful class, and was too awesome to try and cram all into this piece.


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