I Hope You Felt Heard!

conflict management Mar 12, 2021

(Call to Action – Conflict in Community)

A CALL TO ACTION to help people thrive and not simply survive, to build rapport linked to support.

It is a fact that community is essential to a healthy self, a growth mindset, and forward thinking. But we all know that keeping relationships in a community strong, is not without conflict. We have all been in that situation, when a family member was aggravated with us, a trusted friend turned on us, or a colleague became frustrated with us.

It was early Fall, and there I found myself in the midst of a conflict. Unexpected and hurtful beyond words. I knew the importance of settling matters quickly, but no matter what I said, it seemed to get worse and not better. In my turmoil, I turned to the leader of our community to ask for help in resolving this matter. I did not want there to be a wall built between me and another person. I sat in the office that day of a leader I respected, explaining the situation and asking for help to solve the problem. I trusted this leader and I believed that their wisdom and experience would help me navigate resolution to the problem. After about an hour of sitting in an office explaining my dilemma, they ended the meeting with these words, “I hope you felt heard.” I walked out of the office with those words replaying, “I hope you felt heard.” What is that supposed to mean? I did not need someone to listen to me and know my situation, I needed answers, solutions, and strategies to improve as a person and to solve this situation. 

I understand things take time, so I also listened to the leader of that organization that day, as he also said, we would meet in 2 more weeks. I have been a leader for a long time, so I thought maybe he needed to process this out and did not have a quick answer. Fair enough I thought, and I returned two weeks later.  His words again, “I hope you felt heard.” What? Did he really just say these words again? Positively, he had no plans of trying to resolve or even bring forward action to this problem. I did not need someone just to know what had happened, I needed help to navigate forward.

I left that day and never returned for his help, even though his purpose in the community was to help people grow and move forward. He had failed me as a leader. I could have told my problem to a two-year-old and felt more heard, but in maturity I wanted to navigate this problem with wisdom. Was I saying that everything in the situation was the other persons fault, no, but I did not have the tools or strategies to dig out of this situation. As I left his office for the final time, I realized that being heard, is only a piece to the puzzle.

My life at that point reminded me of sitting in a parked car, and as we all know, you can’t navigate forward when your car is in park. I finally began to live life in neutral, some days moving forward and other days sliding backwards into sadness, discouragement, anxiety, and even depression. I had lost trust in a community that I once believed in. I needed help from someone to move again. Slowly, I began to navigate forward, with the help of some professionals in the field. I began to take what I had learned and apply it to my situation. As I have moved from that dangerous point of sitting in park, I have assessed what could have been different.

Here are some points to remember, when building community and navigating conflict.

  1. People Need to Be Seen (To SEE means to notice).
  2. People Need to Be Heard (To HEAR means to listen, process, and empathize).
  3. People Need to Be Helped (To HELP means to provide someone with time, solutions, and community.
  4. People Need to Be Valued (To VALUE means to courageously help navigate both strengths and weaknesses together).
  5. People Need Their Community to Navigate Forward (To NAVIGATE means to move beyond words to action).



QUESTION: If there is conflict, how can I help myself navigate the deep waters and how can others help me?


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