It is likely that, at some point in your life, you will have a boss, a spouse, a business partner or a company who will cause you financial loss or emotional distress. Often, those situations must be addressed. However, how you choose to address conflict is up to you. As Max Lucade said: “Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional”.
You can choose to make the conflict the center of your life – engaging in litigation that lasts years, and spending all of your savings to address the conflict. People engrossed in this kind of conflict can often think of little else. Some people start seeing themselves as victims, and they lose their sense of control over their lives.
You can instead choose a more peaceful route that addresses real problems without all of the pain and cost of litigation. That route for many people is mediation. Mediation is an alternate dispute resolution process embraced around the world to end conflict quickly and powerfully. The parties to a conflict jointly retain one mediator – a neutral party with conflict resolution skills – to help them resolve their conflict. This happens through exchanges of information and the use of problem solving techniques. The parties can enter into binding agreements through mediation, thereby formally ending conflict. Mediation ends conflict most of the time it is utilized.
There is often a palpable moment at the end of a mediation when the parties experience the relief that comes with the knowledge that their conflict is resolved, and they can now able to move forward with their lives. “Lost time is never found again.” (Benjamin Franklin) If you find yourself in a stressful dispute, ask yourself: How much of my life do I want to waste in conflict?
Alona M. Gottfried is a mediator and attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona(at)sglawaz.com. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.