Conflict – or – opportunity to understand?

What is your pattern when it comes to managing differences with others?  Do you …

  • tend to stand your ground and blame the other
  • do everything to avoid conflict
  • look for a compromise
  • see an opportunity to clarify and understand the other more, to collaborate and come up with a creative solution, without anyone feeling he has had to give up something?

These last few weeks, we’ve looked at the impact external events can have our relationships – divorce, infertility, empty nest are just a few – and how there is always an opportunity to learn and grow.

We also learn from any differences we experience in our relationships, how we handle any ‘conflict’.

If you feel uncomfortable or anxious around disagreement, what difference could it make if you changed your perception of ‘conflict’ to an opportunity to clarify, to understand and accept others? What impact might that have on your relationships?

Some of us are challenged having a conversation with someone who we see as being angry or aggressive. When we dig deeper, what we discover is our own fear of being vulnerable and asking intimate questions, the fear of being hurt, rejected, no longer loved by the other.

Having compassion – for our self and the other – gives us the courage to clarify, to take responsibility for exploring what is possible. It gives the other an opportunity to be heard and for us the opportunity to listen. And, when we decide to clarify, we can stop taking things personally. So what if someone has different views – we are each unique!

Often what we need to do is to look at what do I need to resolve within me, to be honest and ask ourself ‘how angry or aggressive am I?’ Usually what we find is that what we dislike in others is what we are unwilling to own in our self.

The only way to resolve conflict within our self is through opening our heart and accepting all our facets – the good, bad and the ugly! Embrace any anger without judgement, decide how you want to feel instead, then just do it! Joy is more fun than anger.

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