The belief that conflict is a bad thing has been confining our needs and ruining relationships for far too long. Conflict has earned a bad reputation. The fear of conflict has grown so large and powerful in our society that often people become prisoners to this fear. They are so trapped in the fear of upsetting others that they deny who they are, their needs, and their views. When did we give the word conflict such power over ourselves and our world?
Let's stop the power trip and take back the word and make it what it actually is in its simplicity. Let's see conflict for its purity in being two opposing views that have yet come to an agreeable understanding.
Let's approach these two opposing views as an OPPORTUNITYto learn about each other. The different views provide a spring board to learn about why each person holds such truths, beliefs, or needs. If you avoid sharing your views because of fear of conflict this results in a missed opportUNITY to connect on a deeper level with the other person. Furthermore, each time you silence your needs and beliefs due to fear of upsetting someone else you are denying who you truly are and are being untruthful to yourself and the other person. Lying to your self and to others can bring anger, resentment, confusion, and unhappiness.
Conflicts are opportunities in disguise.
Opportunities to share, listen, learn, and connect.
Mary and John have been married for 6-years. They have 2 children. Mary works part-time and stays at home with the children after school. John works full-time at a local plant and works side jobs to make extra money for the family. They are a medium income family. Mary would like John to work less and spend more time with the family. John would like to continue working both jobs. The couple has a difference in needs and this difference is typically called a CONFLICT.
We call this difference an OPPORTUNITY. An opportunity for John to ask Mary what her needs is for John to be home more and for Mary to ask John what having a second job means to him. After taking advantage of this opportunity to communicate and learn more about each other then a solution can be reached.
Mary learns that John grew up in a home where the father was the bread winner, but that as a child John often went without due to his family not having enough money. John's need is that his children will never go without. Now that Mary knows this she can now view John with a greater level of understanding and compassion.
John learns that Mary is overwhelmed with work and raising the children and feels disconnected from John due to his work schedule. John now has a greater understanding of his wife's needs and is able to view her with compassion and understanding as well.
The couple has used this difference in opinions as an opportunity to communicate and learn more about each other. John wants to fulfill Mary's needs and Mary wants to support John's need to provide for the family. From this they can then begin exploring different options to meet both needs in some way. As a result, John reduces his side jobs. He continues to work two jobs to fulfill his need, but he reduces his hours in order to fulfill Mary's needs. Mary no longer holds resentment towards John for working two jobs and appreciates the increased time together as a family.
If they have surrendered to the fear that conflict is a bad thing then they would not have been able to reach this place of connection and truthfulness.
Next time you have a view or need and find you are holding back due to fear of conflict, remember to take advantage of the opportUNITY to create UNITY with one another, to be truthful with one another, to be truthful with yourself, and to reach a solution. Take advantage of each OPPORTUNITY.
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