When disagreements arise, it can be difficult to stay connected with the disagreeing person and yet remain true to yourself at the same time. If feels more natural to either blame the other person or to walk away. But if we are to grow into emotional and relational maturity and wellness, we must learn to be able to ask and manage this question in times of conflict:
How can I be fully me and fully us at the same time?
Put it slightly differently: “I want to be true to myself (to be fully me) while I stay connected to you (to remain us), even when we disagree. How can I do that with you?”
I learned this idea from one of my family therapy supervisors many years ago: move from “either/or” thinking to “both/and” thinking.
We often think in “either/or” terms especially when we are caught up in a fight-or-flight mode during a conflict. Being able to engage in “both/and” thinking instead gives us new power for creative collaboration.
How does it work?