Conflict: Finding The True You Through Divorce
Conflict as Crucible: Finding Your True Self in Divorce
This week I sat down with Anne-Louise DePalo and discussed how the divorce process can be draining, both emotionally and financially. DePalo is an attorney in Staten Island. She’s been practicing in the area of divorce and family law for over 30 years, and she’s the author of the book, Divorce Now What? How to Survive, Thrive and Become Fully Alive Through the Divorce Process.
We discussed how conflict can lead to deep reflection and turn us into the person we are meant to be. I was struck with how this is an attitude already adopted by some of the most successful business leaders.
Conflict Lessons of Divorce
In business, conflict can often be seen as essential to growth. According to an article in Entrepreneur magazine, there are some lessons to be learned that can lead you straight to success. Nevertheless, in divorce, you can also find lessons:
- New Ideas: as we discuss, or argue over, ideas, we’re able to mold and shape them. We can incorporate new thoughts, responses to criticism, examples that will clarify our points and other new ideas that can shape our argument and make it stronger.
- Verbalize Needs: when we argue, we get the chance to say exactly what we want or need. We’re not wrapped up in niceties.
- Learn Flexibility: once we enter into conflict with someone we have the choice to stop playing ball or compromise. Choosing the latter helps us learn to assess what’s really important to us and be able to bend or give a little on the rest.
- Makes us Learn to Listen: unless we’re throwing ourselves on the floor like a toddler, we actually have to listen during conflict. And listening—if we really do it and separate reaction from taking it all in—can be an incredible learning opportunity.
- Teaches us About Behavior Patterns: if you find that you always clash with a certain kind of person, then you can identify what the trigger is—and try to avoid it.
- Helps us Find Solutions: this is perhaps the best benefit because it actually leads to a conclusion. The solution may (and probably does) involve compromise which is an essential part of understanding human interaction. Whether it’s buying a different dinner at the grocery store or settling for the less expensive vacation or agreeing to handle certain parts of a presentation at work, compromise is key to living life as an adult.
- Communication: being able to talk (and listen!) to people with a different point of view is truly a skill. It requires learning to listen without jumping in and voicing your own view. It involves asking questions. Mostly, it involves listening and responding to what you hear.
- Helps us with Boundaries: while it may seem weird to say “don’t push for my opinion” or “stop repeating yourself” these kind of complaints can come out naturally (and kindly) when you start to converse and understand what sets people off and what puts them at east.
- Practice Emotional Control: we don’t need to scream to make our point. We don’t need to lose it when we don’t get what we want. This is a conversation that ebbs and flows. Ride it out.
- Allows Us to Stand Out: You can get a better understanding of yourself and how you are remarkable though comparison with other people.
Whether you’re talking about divorce or clashes at work, conflict can be a surprising place to find the seeds of growth.
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