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Conflict Resolution Tips and Blog

Are You In Touch With The Soul of Conflict in Your Work?

Coming off of an incredible week of interviews and interacting with so many of you in The Soul of Conflict Tele-Summit, I experienced a huge crash. It had been a time of taking in almost an overload of information that confirmed much and shifted even more. There is a newness to my mindset when it comes to my work and a big part of what I am experiencing is gratitude and a sense of satisfaction that so many of us are moving in the same direction.

But I did spend much of yesterday in a place of deep sadness that I later realized was the surfacing of unresolved conflict in me that extends to my work. Why do I do the work that I do? Why do you? I have heard it said that…

We are often attracted to the work that we do by a particular need within us.

Often, I have heard people express the desire to help others who have had a particular hurt that they themselves have had. Other popular reasons I am sure we each have heard are… “I want to keep people from making the same mistake I did” or “I’m doing this to stop things like this from happening to anybody else.” Both of which indicate that many of us do the work that we do because of something uncomfortable, unpleasant or just plain bad that happened in our life.

Certainly, the tremendous amount of conflict that existed in my extended family between my dad’s five sisters, sometimes my mom or dad and some of us cousins turned every family gathering (of which there were hundreds in my lifetime) into a war of hateful, nasty words, hurtful gossip, accusations and threats. It would make sense then that I would want to do the work of helping people resolve conflict. If you look at your work in the world, I suspect that you can make the connection between your childhood, teen-life or early adult experiences and how you extend yourself in service these days.

But what the summit did was allow me to dig deep into the question of whether or not I have been living my life and doing the work from the place of equating things that have happened to me with experiencing things that have happened. Stay with me here.

What I recognize about The Soul of Conflict is that if I am truly dealing with the experience then I am working it all through. That means identifying, surfacing, looking at and then doing the work of healing those old wounds left by the first part of the experience (the incident, the harm). If I label it as something that happened to me, I can convince myself that I have left it in the past without acknowledging the wound it has left within me.

To see the full experience through means acknowledging the effect it has had within me and working to feel, release and make the changes necessary to end its affect. As I reflect upon how many of us in conflict resolution work are sometimes the worst at conflict resolution in our lives, I also wonder how many of us as therapists, teachers, parents would admit that we are less than our best when it comes to using the tools of our work in our own lives, particularly during conflict.

Now is not the time for untruths. If we look into The Soul of Conflict in our lives we will find what we have left behind that needs attending to.

Award winning Author, Speaker and Top Business Coach, Pamela Slim speaks to this in this short and powerful clip from her Soul of Conflict Summit interview.

I hope you will watch it and then sign up for The Soul of Conflict Challenge where we get to the work of beginning to Heal Old Wounds.

Sign up here…


It’s 2017. Are You Ready for Conflict?

At this point in history there is really no escaping conflict anymore. Yes, most of us are avoiders, but we are running out of ways to avoid confronting conflict, because it is the biggest thing in our lives thanks to this election.

As a nation, we are experiencing a split like no other.

Whichever side you come down on I know you feel it. People have been cut off by friends and family. Choosing sides and taking a defensive stand is epidemic. Ultimatums, the silent treatment, defiant pronouncements, arguments, fistfights are all on the rise.

The range of emotions we are experiencing run the gamut of grief, deep sadness, shock, disgust, disappointment, shame, embarrassment, hatred, elation, relief, joy and love. Yes love. Love is still present, but we’ve got to go through conflict to truly experience it. Our hearts will be tested, right alongside our patience and our faith.

But most of all, our ability to respond to conflict rather than react will be challenged over and over again.

Are YOU ready for Conflict, because it is here? Never mind that it has always been by your side waiting.

Now, it is out in the open. No hiding, no pretense and it is no longer waiting for us to decide whether or not to take it on. It will not be silenced by the turning off of the television set or the tossing out of the newspaper or by ducking social media or your family, your neighbors, your boss or your friends.

It is coming to each and every one of us LIVE.

Are YOU ready for it?


Is Name-Calling Becoming Our New National Pastime and Adding to Existing Conflicts?

The divide in our country is showing itself to be a lot deeper than our political affiliations. Certainly, the election has proven to illuminate and heighten our differences, but even in a country where being different has never been met with genuine curiosity and a search for how it might strengthen us, what we are seeing today calls for some serious examination.

We have the election sprouting names like deplorables, rapists, idiots, terrorists, crooked, demagogues, low class and other choice words too numerous to mention. Social media is alive with names like thugs, terrorists, pigs, anarchists, spoiled brats, trailer-trash, the n-word, the c-word being hurled at police officers, Black Lives Matter, Colin Kaepernick, those who oppose Colin Kaepernick, women activists, Native Americans and almost anyone who is in conflict with each other these days. Everyday life in the U.S. has become reality T.V. on steroids.
Name-calling has always been a long standing part of our history, but since its elevation to commodity status, it has been deeply embedded in our culture and is now relished and accepted as a part of the “dialogue.” It is readily accepted by adults and as a result our young people to “throw shade “ on someone, because they did it to you. It is now fair game to call someone a name if they say something that opposes our point of view. I have even found myself struggling with this mostly in the solicitude of my car. More than once I have questioned myself about why someone is an “idiot” because they did something I did not like or agree with on the road.

It is easy to get caught up in this new national pastime if we are not conscious and constantly tuning in to ourselves. It is so accepted that it has infiltrated all of our institutions posing as constructive criticism. I remember informing one of my son’s elementary school teachers and the assistant principal that writing in a report that my son is lazy in math does not inform any of us about what needs to be corrected. It is simply name-calling. Is he not getting to work on the task right away? Is he giving up and refusing to try when it gets tough? Both of those things can be addressed. When the corrected report included specifics, but still contained the word lazy, I pushed back to say that word was unnecessary and added nothing to the new information describing what he needed to improve. Blank stares. My experience from telling this story numerous times is that it is so endemic that most people don’t get it.

Let me provide 3 ways that we can check ourselves when we see that we are headed in that direction:

  • Tune in to your emotions when conflict arises. Name-calling is often a result of some kind of emotion being evoked.
  • Honor the feeling, name it, feel it and then allow it to pass and then allow for the possibility that just like you the other person is allowed to make mistakes or think differently without being subject to name-calling.
  • Be open to listening to people who disagree with you and consider that their perspective and yours is colored by all the experiences and people that have shaped our lives.

According to an article in USA Today, tennis player legend, Billie Jean King said of Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest, “You don’t have to agree with his actions to have a good conversation about it.” Make no mistake, this is hard work, particularly in a country that is good at “throwing shade” at those who oppose, annoy and push back against our comfort zones, but allowing name-calling and cursing to redefine conversation will continue to take us down a long dark rode that will be difficult to see our way back from.

For more on this topic, visit my article on Psychology Today.

lynne maureen hurdle, conflict resolution strategist

So You Disagree. Conflict From The Other Side

I have been doing a lot of listening lately. It is my response to the extreme discord in this country. I need to understand the views of people who are thinking differently from me on a lot of issues. But right now, I want to talk to those who are convinced that they have no interest in or no need for my services.

I have been listening to you and I want to see if I can capture what I have heard.

There is no use in trying to talk to the person or the people that you are in conflict with because they just don’t listen. You would rather avoid the issue and keep moving past it, because eventually it will go away or they will get tired and move on and you just won’t have to deal with it anymore. That’s good, because who wants to deal with conflict anyway? It’s messy and uncomfortable and really inconvenient. Like at work, just when a project is going along well… here comes that one co-worker who always has to throw some “ish” in the game. They are never satisfied and they have to let everyone know it. No one wants to deal with her. So you either shut her down or just walk away. It’s easier. Maybe it’s the team that you supervise. They don’t get along long enough to get the work done when it’s due. You just carry the bulk of the work because arguing is not your thing.

With your child… hey, you’re the parent. So you are the boss. You may not be able to make them get along all the time, but you can put them on punishment, yell to get heard or get out of the house for a little bit and let the chips fall where they may. It’s too much work to try to get everyone to get along and you certainly don’t want me to tell you what you are doing wrong (your words), because God knows it is not you who has the problem it’s them.

With your spouse, partner, love interest? Don’t get you started. They are impossible to talk to. They never listen and you don’t think they will ever change even though you are constantly telling them they need to.

lynne maureen hurdle, conflict resolution strategistSo to let you know that I am listening, let me tell you that I agree with you. You should not work with me. You should work with someone who will teach you some techniques to use that don’t require the challenging work of going within and finding out all of the things that you bring to the table when conflicts arise. You should work with someone who will give you some quick tips on listening and not ask you to evaluate your listening skills and the effect they have on others in your life. You should go with someone who will help you look at conflict on a surface level without requiring you to go deep into your feelings, deeply rooted beliefs and cultural norms.

I ask a lot of my clients and if I have been listening, I mean deeply listening to you, I am not who you want.


Breaking Culture: 3 Things I’ve Learned. Why Is Everybody Looking Down?

1. Respect, we all agree?

Respect is a funny thing. Whenever I deliver a workshop, webinar or talk and we get to the place where we briefly pause to make community agreements together, respect hits the board quickly. Then I get what I call the “Amen Chorus”, everyone shaking their head in agreement and essentially saying, “Yes, that’s right. I agree.”

I Have A Crick In My Neck.


The truth is…

Respect means different things to different people and when you throw culture in the mix it can all look so different.


Years back, while conducting an all-day training for a very diverse group of adults, I was talking about this very topic. One man raised his hand and said, “Whew, I am so glad we are talking about this. I am from Pakistan and in my country you are considered an authority. So I must look down to show respect, but then I remember that I am in America. So I must look up to show you respect. I have been moving my head up and then down because it is not easy to break culture.

2. Oops! I’m Breaking “Your Custom”

It is impossible to live in such an eclectic society without running into conflict over customs that are held dear and impenetrable. Our rituals, languages, religions and celebrations all give cause for joyous coming together as well as tense conflict.

Asking folks to change long held customs and beliefs is akin to requesting that they detach limbs in many cases and yet folks are indeed asking.


Independence Day Celebration Contradiction


I experienced a thought-provoking dilemma over the weekend. In the moment of a huge firework celebration in Texas where everything is done bigger, a friend who is in the military, based there for now, took to Facebook Live in tears. She made an impassioned plea to all Americans that they consider the veterans in their planning of local fireworks displays and celebrations. With each loud popping noise she was experiencing PTSD. She wanted folks to know that this is real for thousands of military personnel.

An American cultural staple was causing extreme conflict for the very people who put their lives on the line so that we could celebrate “the reason for the season.” (Those of us who celebrate it, but that is a cultural conflict story for another blog). This is an entry-way into a rich discussion on breaking culture. Last time I checked she had over 8,000 views and hundreds of comments.

3. I Shalt Not Offend Because Everything Is Offensive

One of the most popular complaints I hear from cultural gatekeepers on down to folks who “just don’t want to say the wrong thing” is everything one says is offensive to somebody these days. Well, not really.

While the waters of culture and context may be challenging to navigate, there’s nothing that thoughtful inquiry, conversation, deep listening and ongoing pulling together and working to understand each other won’t cure.


But very little of that is going on these days because fear, not the cat, has our collective tongues.

I Love Lucy, No Really, I Love Lucy.


I read the most interesting 25 facts about the “I Love Lucy” show. The most fascinating one stated that during the episodes that included Lucy’s pregnancy, the scripts had to be approved by a priest, a minister and a rabbi in order not to offend anyone. That could have stopped them, but they went full speed ahead with their message of humor in everyday life, because they knew that it was bringing people together. Desi and Lucy were big on breaking culture.

Cultural shifts and breaks are happening everywhere, most rapidly in this country, even as we still face some of the same social issues that have been present for a century. The resistance that is rising up to meet these is only as strong as our fear of deeply understanding each other.