7 Words of Conflict
7 Words of Conflict
Let's stop seeing conflict as bad. Conflict is inevitable; it is a feature of all life and it leads towards deeper harmony on a more authentic level. It arises when two sincere motivations clash, it creates friction and heat and it often moves the participants to take up staunch positions and intrusive behaviours. Yet it is this response to conflict - not the conflict itself - that we need to change, because it is fear-based and lacks wisdom. People fear the loss of position or the loss of their dignity and prestige...issues to do with boundaries and identity. This indicates a lack of trust and a sense of unreasonable prideful self-importance.
There is within conflict an unparalleled opportunity to expand one's perception of life, by seeing a situation differently, from another's' viewpoint. Without an expansion of perception, no growth occurs. Openness is the question here. Having opened up a wider vista, then a person has to either take on a compromise - not optimal - or to resolve the matter on a deeper level. This requires a degree of skill at negotiation and a true willingness to seek authenticity. If you still feel in the right, then you have to learn how to persuade!
Getting what we want in life depends quite a lot upon finding out and knowing what we appreciate and exactly what values are worth the effort. Unless we come up against another with a different set of values, then we simply have no way to find out whether we are following the best course when we continue to do what we've always done. Much of our behaviour, perhaps most of it, has been inherited by copying parents - or imposed through social pressure from peers and authority figures. So typically, when we follow our own inner guidance and do something different, we find ourselves in conflict with these people. It can be rather upsetting, and many of us prefer to avoid the conflict rather than feel the painful feelings of rejection, attack, mistrust and fear that can arise.
Others however are ready to engage in the conflict and become willing to press their point. In theory this does not have to be aggressive, yet indeed often generates a fiery mood and stimulates fight or flight strategies that emerge as a natural condition, the adrenals send a signal that one is threatened, preparing the body for extra effort in case the threat becomes dangerous. The mind so often loses clarity of focus when this happens and we may not always say words that are kind or even informative. Yet the life force within, awakened by all this conflict, challenges us not to allow the 'dying of the light' (to quote Dylan Thomas). We need to have the realisation that we must change; it is life itself.
To create an optimal outcome, it's good to keep the "eyes on the prize". In other words, know what you are fighting for and don't get distracted. Press for one thing and keep bringing the focus back to that outcome. At a more harmonious level of involvement, it is possible to achieve a result that pleases both parties. This can be done with exemplary skills of cooperation and an expectation of agreement.
It is of great importance to show respect and really quite foolish to perceive the other person as wrong; it leads nowhere. From their perspective they are making an important point, one that validates their life choices, one that they hold precious. It may be that they - or we - have no willingness to adopt a new position, that we feel quite stubborn, even self-righteous - yet sooner or later we are required to soften our position if we are to maintain involvement. Perhaps what matters most of all is to refrain from blame and accusation. Let another person cherish their own life view, and let it not be attacked or ridiculed. Be responsible for you and yours.
Whatever the outcome, let there be no resentment or gloating either - be graceful in success as in defeat. We can even learn acceptance that the very idea of winners and losers is unhelpful. Life is ever teaching us new ways, and this often requires a degree of conflict. So from time to time we should welcome a healthy debate, a challenge to the status quo, a rebel's voice and vigorous teenager wildness. It not only keeps us on our toes, it helps us find a deeper sense of what really matters to us and to others.
Comments (3) Leave a comment
Graham (Sept. 19, 2011)
<p>James, Your writing gives me goosebumps of deep resonance.</p>
Glen Tucker (Feb. 7, 2012)
<p>Thanks James, sings in my soul At this level, it's possible to see a world where we can live in beauty, high energy and to experience life at a much deeper level. I can see so many great concepts in this short article!</p>
Troy Powell (June 10, 2012)
That was an amazing piece, I studied conflict analysis, for my MA and one of the surprising nuggets of knowledge I found in the course was a module that differentiated between constructive and destructive conflict. Not all conflicts are the same, and most usually need to happen before growth is possible.