Maintaining Composure – 4 tips on how to maintain composure when you feel like you’re going to lose it!
Maintaining composure: Have you ever felt yourself losing your cool when you are in a conflict situation?
I think we can all agree that sometimes when you are in a confrontational situation, you can feel your buttons being pushed and the swell of emotion rise within you. It feels like you’re out of control and all that’s left for you to do is lose it!
So how can you keep your cool when dealing with conflict?
In this blog we explore 4 tips for maintaining composure when you need it most.
#1. Maintaining Composure Tip: Communicate negative emotions on a personal level
When you are in a conflict situation with someone – whether it be at home or work, it’s easy to lash out on an email; text message; voice message; messenger; skype message; or even with written notes.
These forms of communication are not only impersonal, but rarely accurately capture the correct emotions or vocal tones that can make or break a situation.
With any complex emotion or situation, nothing takes the place of person-to-person, face-to-face contact.
So our first tip is to make sure you are speaking in person.
#2. Maintaining Composure Tip: Use words of understanding
When you are in a conflict situation and feeling like your emotions are getting out of control, its easy to focus on the negatives, and what is angering or upsetting you.
Instead, its important to stay focused on what the other person is saying. It’s key to truly try to understand what they are actually saying – not what you think they mean.
Others even think that understanding is more important than love!
When you focus on understanding where the other person is coming from, let them know and test your understanding is accurate.
A technique to do this can be to paraphrase your understanding of their point of view, and play it back to them. Ask them if this is what they mean and come from a place where you want to truly understand their perspective just for the sake of understanding – not in order to use it against them in your next breath.
#3. Maintaining Composure Tip: Be vulnerable, not defensive.
If you have the tendency to lose your temper or flare up, people will have the notion that you are a very dangerous person or they will not be safe with you.
When you are like this, people will always try to protect themselves when being with you.
It is therefore even more important to recognise when you are becoming defensive.
Are you finding yourself justifying your point of view? Finding reasons to support your stance? Not letting the other person get a word in edge-ways? This is defensive behaviour.
Instead, open yourself up to feedback and vulnerability. For example purposefully leave pauses – perhaps for longer than you are used to in the conversation.
Focus on truly listening to the other person’s point of view. You may find they are just as scared as you and will be able to even better understand where they are coming from.
#4. Maintaining Composure Tip: Avoid putting blame on the other person
It is very easy when in a conflict situation to blame the other person.
Conflict will be eased, and a level head sustained, if you avoid pointing the finger at the other person. Signs you are blaming them (to avoid!) include:-
- Physically pointing your finger
- Raising your voice
- Saying words like ‘but you didn’t …’ or ‘but you then did…’
- Even unexpected words and phrases like “You are Selfish and you only think about yourself” or “you left me alone” are examples of when you may be blaming someone else for the emotions / situation / or pain you felt. This in turn is an example of where you may not be taking responsibility for your own feelings and reactions.
Be conscious of the language coming out of your mouth – and make sure you don’t push the blame on someone else.
We hope you find these tips useful in maintaining composure next time you find yourself in a conflict situation.
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