Studies show that relapses in self-control occur from negative emotional states (being in a bad mood), interpersonal conflict, and social pressure. Studies also show that dealing with conflict can minimize all three of these states.
Conflict is nothing more than a difference or disagreement. There are three stages to any conflict. Stage one: the “agenda building” stage is where you make a case for what you want. Stage two: “name calling” is where you either pout, shout, withhold, etc. Stage three: “resolution.”
A conflict can either be with another person or with yourself. For example, a part of you wants to eat something forbidden (chocolate cake). Another part of you jumps in and starts name calling the first part. You feel bad, go ahead and eat the cake, but hate yourself.
Research has shown that you will never be able to eliminate these three stages, but it has also found that the happiest relationships (with yourself or with others) occur when more talking and questioning goes on in stage one.
In our example of the chocolate cake, exploring WHY YOU WANT IT and WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH EACH ALTERNATIVE leads to less name calling and a sounder, less reactive resolution.
A win-win situation in conflict occurs when you take the time for each part or person to speak and couple that with a willingness to cooperate and compromise. Practicing stage one now will only pay off in big benefits down the line!
From Drs. Tuck and Suzanne Saul