Use X, Y, and Z to Resolve Conflict

    In our last post, we talked about owning your part in a challenging situation as a first step to positive resolution. This is something that you do internally to stop reactive cycles of victimhood and blame. You can then state your personal responsibility to others involved to pave the way for resolving conflict. Today, I’d like to share a simple formula for taking the next step and expressing how you feel in a non-threatening way.

    When you use this three-part structure to express what’s going on with you, you allow the other person to get “where you’re coming from” without feeling attacked. This works especially well if you’ve already taken personal responsibility for your part in what is happening.

    This technique comes from Marshall Rosenberg in the book “NonViolent Communication” (2008).

    Here are the three parts:

    “When X happens (describing the facts, without judgment)

    I feel Y (emphasizing your softer emotions such as ‘overwhelmed with sadness’)”

    because I need Z (what you truly desire at the moment).

    The key to this approach is that you are referencing your own experience rather than pointing out the shortcomings in what someone else is doing.

    Try it out and see if it smoothes your path to better communication and conflict resolution. I’d love to hear how this works for you.


    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. A great way to calm yourself so you can express yourself clearly is meditation. To learn more about the power of meditation Click Here

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