31 Days of Soul Searching – Day 10 {Conflict}

Day 10

Certainly, I never thought I would feel this way, but I have come to a strange and surprising realization.

{Conflict} can actually be a good thing.

I try to avoid conflict at almost any cost. It is uncomfortable. It is unsettling. It is messy.

But I have recently began to embrace a slightly different perspective on conflict. It can be a catalyst to change, growth, and improvement in relationships.

You see, it isn’t the conflict itself that causes the pain and anguish for us. It is the way the conflict plays out. Hurt feelings can cause unkind words and hasty decisions during moments of conflict. That is the true culprit that makes conflict so unsettling.

“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.”
                                              ~ Max Lucado

Yes, it is the combat that is harmful. In combat, there is a winner and there is a loser. In conflict, there is merely a desire to be heard and validated. No winner. No loser. You can be on the same team and have conflict, but you can’t be on the same team and have combat.

How do you handle conflict in your life?

Increasingly, I am learning to address it in a “meeting of the minds” kind of way. The goal in that approach is not to win the fight, but to be heard. Although my new approach is not always received in the way it is intended, I can certainly take comfort in knowing my intentions have a peaceful purpose.

Think about a situation recently where you have not agreed with someone, felt that they had done you wrong in some way, or just plain have been irritated by something. How did you choose to handle it?

When we allow our emotions and that pain to take over, it will always be a battle. But, if we are strong and secure in ourselves, we will be able to approach the other person with a calm desire to fix what seems to be broken. It is not as much the offense as it is the resolution that is the star of this approach.

Lord knows I have flown off the handle many times. I have let my emotions lead the conversation and that typically does not end well. That approach certainly does not lead to resolution, but instead quickly puts the other person on the defensive and begins a battle.

Take a deep breath in those moments. Decide for yourself how you would like to get through the issue you have. What will be the end result? Listen to the other person and truly hear what they are saying. Use kind words. Be respectful of their point of view. Agree on next steps. Put the conflict behind you.

Such a simple recipe for success in conflict, but not at all easy. We can’t control the other person’s willingness to play by our rules and that can be difficult. But if we hope to resolve the situation and learn and grow from it, how can we not think of things this way? How can we not be committed to healthy conflict as opposed to hurtful combat?

I am taking small steps to improve how I choose to handle conflict in my life. I no longer want to run and hide from it and dwell in the pain of my wounded heart. I want to heal my heart through conversation with the purpose to move forward as a more unified team.

What a wonderful way for you both to win.

Curious… 

How will you change your approach to conflict?

Will you allow your hurt feelings to take the lead?

Or will you commit to working through the issue in a healthy way?

And when you are deciding how to handle things, remember that this conflict may actually improve your relationship if you choose to handle it from your heart instead of from those hurt feelings. I encourage you to leave the combat to our country’s military troops, and instead to create peace within your relationships.

 

*This is the 10th post in a 31 day series on Soul Searching. To follow the series from the beginning, simply click here and you will be directed to the introductory post which contains links to each day’s topic.

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2 thoughts on “31 Days of Soul Searching – Day 10 {Conflict}

  1. Shannon Kellogg October 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm Reply

    True words to live by. I need to work harder at less combat.

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