Kindness in Anger and Conflict

From the Desk of Robert Bernhardt

What place is there for kindness amongst a mire of resentment and fiery anger? How is kindness, such a small effect and action undergone in a habitual manner, such a pivotal force when suffering from conflict with your partner, or even your friend? Kindness, politeness, and caring is of paramount importance when moving through conflict with your partner, and helping to prioritize the relationship rather than the anger or frustration.

In the words Sanaa Hyder, M.S.Ed., “One of the hardest things to do in a relationship is to be nice to your partner when you’re upset with them”. People, without exemption, have an incorrigible tendency to let annoyance, sadness, or other negative emotions twist into resentful anger towards the ones closest to us. It is a burden we all bear, and something that may sometimes complicate the struggles that arise within relationships with each other. There is nothing worse than compounding anger and problems, no? But there are means by which partners overcome this instinct, means in order to show gratitude and kindness in the heat of the argument.

The conundrum can be simplified into three main components of which are outlined by Sanaa Hyder. The first is to think positive thoughts. Strange, but it is necessary. The human mind will subconsciously influence decisions with what the mind prefers to focus upon. Thus, if you maintain a mindset focusing on the negative qualities of your partner, it is a recipe for disaster and attacking those faults when conflict arises.

The second method that is commonly forgotten, or conveniently, is to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, actions, decisions, and others effects you have brought about. No one individual is faultless, emotionless, or has nothing to own up to when conflict is thrown in one’s face. When you make a mistake, say something hurtful, or realize something of your emotions, you must take ownership of the factor. This action shows integrity, and willing to admit wrongdoing or regretful actions, rather than lashing out in hot fury.

The final method most may adopt, is to, in the words of Hyde, ‘Let Hope Win’. This statement is vague, so allow me to explain. When someone opens the door for you out of courtesy, yet offers a genuine smile, how is it that you feel? How is that you feel when you partner goes out of their way in order to arrive home early for more quality time? The feeling of warmth and comfort at a partner’s off-handed acts of kindness are what’s a key emotion to remind oneself of. Do not neglect to do these gestures of good faith, even when closeness is at an intolerable level. These acts remind both you and your partner that you care more for each other than the negative anger that plagues you both.

Conflict is unavoidable, inevitable, and there will be most assuredly a time in which it will become uglier than whatever one could imagine. But with good faith in the relationship, with comfort and kindness as a method of affirming your bonds, the anger will not throw a wrench in the bond you and your partner, or partners, have worked endless hours for.

Hyder, Sanaa. “How to Be Kind When You’re Upset With Your Partner.” The Gottman Institute, The Gottman Institute, 27 Dec. 2016, www.gottman.com/blog/how-to-be-kind-when-youre-upset-with-your-partner/.

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