Conflict has a negative connotation in our language and in our relationships. Conflict gets a bad rap! More importantly, most of us were never taught to find healthy resolutions through conflict. Most of us were taught to avoid conflict at all cost or go to war. Both are unhealthy.
When you avoid conflict, stop talking, and then pretend the issue never happened, the issue is put in the “closet.” Momentarily. Everything in the closet will be brought out at the next opportunity. Without resolving anything in the closet, eventually, the closet will overflow. This is when bad things happen in and to your relationship.
When you are angry enough to go to war, you are ready to use all of the weapons in your verbal, emotional and mental arsenal to “win” the war. Going to war leaves body parts and people behind. Eventually, the person who is consistently on the “losing” side will get fed up. This is when bad things happen in and to your relationship.
There is a way to do conflict that is healthy! Yes, it’s true. I’m not lying when I tell you that conflict is not “bad.” You can use conflict as a way to bring two people closer together. You can use conflict to get to know another person better. Here’s the truth: If you are in any type of relationship with another person, you WILL have conflict with them. Why? Because you are two different people, coming from two different backgrounds, families, cultures and religions. Most likely your educations were and your experiences in life were different. How is it possible to see life through the same lens? It isn’t. So, if the question is NOT: “How do I avoid conflict?” Then the question becomes: “If conflict is going to happen, how can I CHOOSE to do conflict in a healthy way? How do I take conflict from a win/lose proposition to a win/win solution?” Now you are on the right track!
You are not a bad person if you avoid or go to war. You are just doing what you know. Now, it’s time to make the difficult decision to learn a new way to handle conflict in your life. One that requires an investment of energy, time, and tools to create win/win solutions. Are you ready?