Taking the risk out of conflict

Most of us hate conflict and try to avoid it, some at all costs. There’s a problem with trying to avoid conflict: it will show up again, either with the same person or a different one; either in the same or a different scenario.  If you have a beating heart, conflict is a part of living.

I’m guessing that if you try to avoid conflict, it’s probably because it makes you feel anxious.  The reasons vary, but for most of us, it’s about the expected results of conflict – being rejected, shamed, excluded, embarrassed, judged, treated unjustly, … – any number of negative expectations that none of us relish facing.

If that’s what you fear, then it makes conflict risky. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a way to engage in conflict that has a good chance of ending really well.

The key is to stay connected to each other.

Usually, when we find ourselves in conflict, both parties end up feeling attacked. And when a person feels attacked, they protect themselves. And when a person protects themselves, they loose personal connection and contact with the other person – we tend to look at the other person in an objectifying way – as an attacker instead of another person with a different point of view.

Many of us do this automatically, possibly because we grew up in circumstances where conflict was risky and did lead to a need to self-protect, or because it was avoided and never addressed. Now as adults, it’s automatic for us.

Is this true for you? If so, and if you desire to find a way to successfully address conflict, then see if you can welcome it. Welcome the feeling of anxiety and excitement you feel, so that you can remain in contact with the person in front of you.

It’s a first step.


Quote of the Week

Never have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.”

– Mark Twain 



I hope you enjoyed this article. When you’re ready to take the next step on your life journey, book a free 20 min consultation with me.