Too often, we let misguided feelings get in the way of straightforward resolutions.

Consider the following scenario:

Your spouse forgot to take out the garbage.

It’s common for me or my wife to grow frustrated at each other for oversights like these. But let’s consider the fact vs. the feeling in this scenario.

Fact
The garbage didn’t get taken out.

Feeling(s)
Your spouse is lazy. Your spouse doesn’t listen to you. Your spouse purposefully ignored you. Your spouse thinks you’re too bossy. Your spouse doesn’t like you very much.

Those feelings might devolve into increasingly extreme and toxic, but many people somehow find themselves thinking these things even over the most minor mistakes.

But when we look closely at the fact in this case — the garbage didn’t get taken out — it’s far easier to avoid frustration. The result of this fact is that you or your spouse can easily take out the garbage tomorrow. Life will go on. No harm, no foul. Your spouse very likely didn’t avoid taking out the garbage just to spite you.

The resolution of most conflicts comes exploring the facts rather than the feelings. If a coworker constructs a plan that you disagree with, the fact is that their plan is simply different from what you originally expected. A feeling that they hoped to insult you with their contrarian attitude is often misguided.

Regardless of the conflict that you find yourself in, take a moment to consider the facts. When those facts become the focus, it’s far easier to avoid letting feelings turn a disagreement into a sour situation.

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