I spent many years of my life shying away from conflict, in the mistaken belief that a conflict avoided furthers healthy relationships. This is untrue. A healthy conflict aids growth. Healthy is the key word. Conflict for the sake of conflict is destructive. Conflict for the sake of learning, to allow yourself and others to see what is bothering you, or to provide the resistance necessary to gaining strength is constructive. We are going to explore a few ways to keep conflicts in your life constructive.
- Approach conflict with an eye on the opportunity the conflict presents. What can you learn from this? Is the lesson how to diffuse a potentially explosive situation? Is it how to avoid stepping on others’ toes? There is always something to be learned.
- You are often in conflict with yourself. If you can’t resolve the conflicts within yourself, how can you resolve them with others? Confront what it is you don’t like about you and get it out of the way. Take away all of the bluster the negative feelings within you are presenting. And replace it with what you truly love about you.
- Everybody’s position is valid from where they are standing. Take this into consideration. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, it makes sense to them. And even if it makes sense to you, it might not to them. Find a common ground and approach it from there.
- Conflict is not synonymous with collapse. Just because a significant other is upset about something doesn’t automatically mean it is irreparable or irreconcilable. Listen. Present your point of view. Listen to how they see it. Try to find some of your position in theirs. And be sure to conclude the conflict with a workable resolution so it doesn’t come back to haunt you later. Never bring up things designed to hurt, or things from a conflict in the past. Keep it in the present.
Conflict is only destructive when it is initiated to wound or kill, either literally or figuratively. Look towards growth and resolution so you and your relationships may grow ever stronger.