If you are in a conflict, you might not be able to solve it just between the two of you. This is not wrong; some conflicts are just too painful or difficult.
Depending on the nature of a conflict, you might seek for a help from a lawyer. But not all conflicts have a legal nature and even those very legal ones have such a large and purely human background that solving them only from a legal point of view will not be enough, if you want to arrive to a satisfactory solution. In other words, you may find a solution from the legal point of view but the unpleasant tension remains and the conflict goes on.
From my experience, many people are simply too afraid of conflicts and try to avoid them already in relatively simple situations and safe environment: at home, at school, among friends, colleagues… But as the time goes, minor dissatisfactions cumulate into bigger tensions and mutual frustrations.
Another usual problem is that — because of the fear of conflict — we switch, subconsciously, to another mode: either a fight (we start attacking the other for non-related reasons, without discussing the real problem) or flight (we increase the distance in the relationship, or we even run away).
It is natural that we want to have good relations, especially with with those who are close to us. But it is also normal that we often do not know how to solve our conflicts. Having different opinions is often perceived as too disturbing.
In mediation, you discuss your situation, confidentially, with the help of a third person (mediator) who helps you go through your conflict and find such a solution, thanks to which you will be able to arrange what each of you needs, turn the page and continue living your life.
A mediator is often defined as someone who is independent, neutral, impartial and has no decisional or consultative power. What does it mean?
- Independent: does not receive any orders from anyone concerning your conflict;
- Neutral: has no interest on the result of your conflict and, therefore, has no reason to influence how you agree with the other person;
- Impartial: does not take the side of any of you.
- Who has the decisive role in the mediation process? The most important feature of a mediation is that it is the persons in conflict who have a responsibility for solving their situation. They decide which solution suits them best.
We do not have to have the attitude that it is us who holds the responsibility for our situation right at the beginning of the mediation process. It is even natural that at the bottom of our soul we wish that the mediator decides for us or shows at least a bit that he takes our side. However, by agreeing to the mediation we express our intention to get influenced by the mediator and solve our conflict — under the lead of the mediator — differently.
Many people do not have an experience of going through a conflict safely and without fighting. That is exactly the magic of a well done mediation. The mediator creates for you a safe framework and leads you the way, so that you can overcome your primary fear and switch to searching for viable solutions.
Finally, I would like to highlight that mediation is a voluntary process, both for the persons in conflict and the mediator. Any of them can step out at any moment, not feeling safe, respected or for other reasons.