In 2005 on the 2nd of February, my Father’s birth date, I discovered a crocus in bloom. February 2nd is Ground Hogs Day in the USA and many wait to see if Punxsutawney Phil, a ground hog, will see his shadow and prognosticate 6 more weeks of winter.
I grabbed my camera and took a picture.
Today I went looking to see what I could see. About 100 bulbs starting out of the ground,
4 Primroses were in bloom and 1 small snowdrop. I raced in and got my camera again to remember these first signs.
In being a good problem-solver one must be a good observer. What do you see happening? Just what you observe no emotions or explanations.
Although you might need to figure out and analyze the emotions involved in the future, it is first important to separate yourself from the problem. Observe the other person and their actions – acknowledge what they are saying and doing. Do not engage.
This moves the problem back onto them and assists you in not owning their anger.
Woman comes into store and says: “ I would like to return these towels?
Clerk says in a loud voice: “Lady, what is wrong with you? These are the finest towels I have in stock and you want to return them?”
Reply after enjoying the show! “When I asked to return the towels and you replied with ‘Lady what is wrong with you? These are my finest towels and why would I want to return them?”
That is a basic reply….observation.
In nonviolent communication one would then add the emotion and need to the conversation:
Woman says: “This seemed to make you very upset and worried. Do you need some reassurance that I will still shop at your store? Or that you will not be in conflict with your manager over this exchange.” (The shopper is making a guess here after studying – observing.)
Clerk says: “I just don’t know why you women buy things and return them and it cuts the stores profit margin, which is tight”
Woman, “Would you feel better if I said I came in to exchange them for another color as these were a gift and my friend did not pick an appropriate color for my room?”
This is a simple example and happened to a friend of mine. It shows that by good clean observation one cannot own the emotion and might even offer appreciation to someone who needs it.
Just as one can find joy in the discovery of a snowdrop or crocus in the middle of winter, it is wonder full to find a path to diffuse a conflict and respect yourself and the other in the process.
Observation without frills, one of the most overlooked tools of conflict resolution and discussing the hard things.
What do you think? Does it seem too hard to do? Let’s talk