Comfort Level with Conflict
- Let students know that not all conflicts have the same intensity, and the intensity may vary among participants in a single conflict.
- Some conflicts elicit mild discomfort, while others produce severe emotional distress.
- Our level of comfort with specific conflicts depends on various factors including our personalities, our past experiences, our cultures, etc.
- Different people may have a different comfort level with the same conflict.
- Have students write about a conflict they have witnessed or been a party to where they were uncomfortable. They should identify what made them uncomfortable and describe their feelings.
- Have students watch the introduction video and four scenarios below and write out how they would feel or react.
- Discuss with your students why it is also important to be self-aware of one's own identity characteristics, perceptions and biases, especially when involved in a conflict:
When part of a person's identity is challenged or threatened, they often respond by re-enforcing their allegiance to that part of their identity. Knowing who you are and what informs your perceptions helps you to understand why you get upset or stressed and to figure out how to calm down and address the issue appropriately.
It is important to recognize how you respond to others, being sensitive to their attitudes, emotions and feelings, without trying to interpret them in terms of your perceptions. Perceptions are based on our experiences and help us make sense of the world, but they can also be superficial and most likely do not tell us the complete story.
Not being aware of why we think, feel or act in certain ways may lead us to stereotype, discriminate, or misjudge situations or other people. When we know what it is that we identify with, we can be aware of our own biases and how we might react to situations that test what is important to us. It helps us to understand why we think what we think, why we feel what we feel, and why we act how we act.
It is also important to be self aware of how we are feeling in the moment, and how that may affect how we react to any particular situation.
- Have students fill out the Know Yourself Worksheet or use the questions for in-class discussion.
- Discuss with your students ways they can become more self-aware. You can suggest the practices of reflective journal writing and mindfulness as possibilities for building this awareness of themselves.