When involved in any kind of conflict, our minds often create a mock dialogue either looking back at the past like, “oh, I wish I would have said…,” or toward the future with, “next time I’m going to say…”
This is especially true when we are upset and the dialogue can take the form of argument, disrespect, or the belittling others. Repeating this kind of dialogue can lead to anger, rage, judgment, blame, criticism, defensiveness or victimhood leak into and damage your case.
If you engage in negative inner dialogue, it is likely to leak into your case and create more conflict, more stress, more anger, and higher legal costs.
So, when you enter into mediation, arbitration or court, and you’ve been in a battle for months or years, you may walk in with hours or days of these harsh inner dialogues running through your head.
Here’s the thing… I’ve done this and I’ve also seen clients do it too. We say to ourselves, “these are just thoughts, I’m just blowing off steam, I’ll be relaxed and friendly and nice in court to impress the judge, arbitrator, or mediator.”
Then, in the stress of the moment, especially if you become upset by something the other person says, the negative words stemmed from that dialogue start to leak out. Now your most reactive self is on display.
Judges don’t like it, juries don’t like it, and mediators don’t like it. Pretty much, no one is impressed or persuaded by that, and you’re unlikely to get away with pretending to be nice.
People know when others are not being genuine; when they say one thing, but their tone of voice, the look on their face, or their body language says something else. You don’t want that!
Being untrue creates distrust.
When a judge, jury or arbitrator distrusts you, it is probably going to go badly for you. Let me give you an example of the destructiveness that can occur. I was acting as a mediator for a young couple that wanted to pursue a low-cost, cooperative divorce. For mediation to work well (and not take months and thousands of dollars of attorney and mediator time), the parties need to be cooperative, flexible, open-minded and respectful of each other.
I have an unusual Mediation Agreement that the parties have to sign, saying that they are committed to being respectful, flexible, and fair, and that they will not interrupt, talk over, or bring negative history into the mediation. It also speaks of higher principles, and how they want to be a good example to their family, friends, and community.
So in the first session, it went pretty well and we worked through several issues. At the end when we were about to schedule the next session, one party said that they had something they wanted to say.
I said “ok.” They then launched into a negative, hurtful diatribe.
The energy in the room sank, and the sense of goodwill, respect, and cooperation disappeared.
The mediation failed, and they went back to hiring individual lawyers and spending many thousands of dollars to complete their divorce. The person who did this probably felt that they were being honest about their emotions. However, blasting the other person in mediation is not helpful. I always suggest that people do their emotional clearing outside of mediation, with a spiritual practice or working with a healing-oriented friend or counselor, so they can at least get to a respectful place where they will not be in attack or defense mode.
We can all work to calm reactive emotions, and as much as we can, invoke qualities of empathy, tolerance, flexibility, fairness, and compassion. These not only will help you succeed in your case, but will also greatly reduce your stress.
If you are able to rest more in peace and in a universal unconditional love, even in the midst of conflict, how wonderful would that be?
If you are currently in legal distress with negative inner dialogue happening, I invite you to grab a copy of my FREE Guide, Two Ways to Quickly Turn Around Negative Inner Dialogue.
Online Guides and Resources:
Rarely is a legal problem purely just legal. Almost all disputes involve emotional and interpersonal dynamics. If you or someone you care about are in a middle of a difficult legal situation, I offer online guides, exercises, fill-in-the-blank forms, meditations and other resources to help you navigate through faster, easier and at lower cost, with more calm, clarity, and confidence. To learn more about my guides and resources, I invite you to visit my website and see what is available under the “Guides” menu.
Private Consultation or Representation:
I’ve been able to help my clients transform their legal issues in the past, and I’d love to connect to talk to you about your situation. If you would like to speak personally with me about what’s happening for you, and to learn more about working with me, please visit my WU profile for ways to stay connected.