Required Reading: Conflict Resolution

   Written by on November 3, 2017 at 10:02 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Have you noticed a trend in the news stories lately?  Last week’s news articles all seemed as if every story was about people involved in a conflict.  Have you ever thought how great it would be if a required course existed that taught conflict resolution?  Ken Sande, after spending 30 years working in conflict resolution, started Relational Wisdom 360.  His goal was to provide Christian relational skills that could prevent many misunderstandings and offenses, and thus avoid conflict.  The program focuses on building strong relationship talents, improving communication skills, and helping people to develop empathy and basic relational wisdom.  All based on biblical principles.

What is relational wisdom?  Have you heard of emotional intelligence?  Psychology Today outlines emotional intelligence as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.  Emotional intelligence includes these skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply emotions to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.  Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence provides insights into how the brain works, neurology, what triggers emotions, how emotions affect our hormones, and our behavior.  Mr. Sande’s Relational Wisdom builds on these insights by providing a biblical expansion on the concepts of emotional intelligence.  Simply put, relational wisdom is our ability to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves, as Jesus has loved us.

Why do we need relational wisdom?  Life is about relationships and many of life’s problems come down to less than strong relationships.  Relationally wise people bring out the best in others.  Relationally wise people experience less conflict and enjoy richer, more enduring relationships.  Relationship expertise generally outperforms technical expertise when we are working with others.  The authors Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves (Emotional Intelligence 2) hold that relational skills are the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace as well as the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.  They found that 90% of top performers have high relational skills.  We need relational wisdom to help in our marriage, family, friendships as well as at work.

So how do we build relational wisdom?  Here are the six keys Mr. Sande provides to unlock relational wisdom; God Aware, God Engaging, Self Aware, Self Engaging, Other Aware, and Other Engaging.  These keys are based on the principle that all relationships involve three dimensions: God, Self, Others.  In addition, relationships involve two dynamics: Aware (knowledge) What do I know?  and Engaging (action) What will I do?

These six keys are skills that a strong relational wisdom will make habits.

God Awareness (remember) is the ability to view all of life in the light of God’s character, works, and promises.

God Engagement (faithfulness) is the ability to trust, obey, and imitate God in a way that pleases and honors him.  How do I respond to God, whether by obedience, faithfulness, trust?

Self-Awareness (humility) is the ability to honestly discern your own emotions, interests, values, strengths, and weaknesses.  What do I know about myself and my strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities?

Self-Engagement (discipline) is the ability to manage your thoughts, emotions, words, and actions so that they advance God’s purposes.  How do I discipline and control my responses and myself?

Other-Awareness (compassion) is the ability to understand and empathize with the experiences, emotions, and interests of others.  Do I take the time to read other people, picking up on their body language, tone of voice, or the look in their eyes?

Other-Engagement (service) is the ability to encourage, cooperate, and resolve differences with others in a mutually beneficial way.  Do I respond in compassion rather than in confrontation?

This is a brief outline of the basics to Relational Wisdom and only meant to pique your interest in the topic.  You can find more information on how to grow your relational wisdom at www.rw360.org, the website for Relational Wisdom 360.

The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  James 3:17

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Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.

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