Conflict, Part 3 – Check Yourself

I once watched a training video that captured real events in an inner city high school. A teacher, frustrated at the repeated absences of one student, called the young man to his office after school. The encounter was captured on closed circuit camera, and used with permission in this training documentary. The student, who looked more like an adult than a schoolboy, appeared in the office, obviously not happy. Neither was the teacher. Before anything else happened, the teacher launched into a challenging talk about the student’s absences. The student talked backed, and in just seconds yelling and cursing led to property destruction and general chaos. The police were called and the kid was led off in cuffs.

In my fourteen years at a treatment center for teens, my colleagues and I received annual training on crisis management. Lesson #1: upon entering a tense situation, the first thing to do is to check the scene to look for danger. Then, check yourself. In other words, we were cautioned not to defuse an explosive situation unless we, ourselves, were in a fairly balanced state. If the teacher in the story had done that, the outcome would have been different.

In the past, when you have set out to resolve a problem with someone, have you ever felt tense, angry, scared or unsettled before you started talking? If yes, did being in that state of mind and body help you work things out in a reasonable, sensible way?

The next time you feel the need to address something challenging with another person, check what you’re feeling emotionally and physically. Do not try to connect with someone when emotion is in charge of you. Communication is non-existent in such a case. If you don’t know how to return to a balanced and sensible state of mind and body, I wish you’d reach out to me. I can help you do that. The number is 219-309-3928, and the consultation is free.

Thanks for reading!