Conflict occurs every day, with us, people we know, and those we don’t know. In our world today, we have every media source capitalizing off conflict because the majority of humans flow toward conflict. We don’t really like to be a part of conflict, but we like to insert ourselves on the “sidelines” of conflict, and in the end regardless of our intentions, just helps perpetuate the conflict. You can’t watch any single news source not focused directly on conflict with 90% of what they report on. And all this conflict does, whether we are in it, on the sidelines of it, or watching it, is create the most common casualties of conflict. Those casualties of conflict are drama, violence, broken relationships, and uncomfortable unresolved tensions. All of which most of us don’t like, and realize the true negative consequences of them. While there are others whom can’t but help themselves to insert themselves into the fire of conflict.
The definition of conflict is the energy created by the gap between what we want and what we are experiencing at any point in time. And we first experience that as a child typically starting with wanting food to eat, and the result is often crying. We fill the gap with energy of crying, yet as we get older, we often fill that gap with negative energy such as words of hate, spit fire, even violence, that leads to the often-broken relationships. And often times the conflict creates severe anger. And in these situations of conflict, no matter the severity, we must not focus on the conflict, but focus on commonalities or solutions to the conflict, while also asking everyone to remain calm and let cool focused heads prevail.
We had a situation this summer in the town where I live, in which an unresolved conflict exploded like a nuclear bomb, and we had virtually all aspects of the casualties of conflict listed above. There was enough drama to make our entire town nauseated and lines drawn in the sand creating many broken relationships of longtime friendships, and enough tension in which people quit doing the normal things of life each day hurting businesses, affecting kid’s ability to process conflict, and creating unresolved anger. And unresolved anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person gets sick, of which some folks got so wrapped up in the situation, taking sides, some would have likely done that.
There are many ways to solve conflict and how we can use conflict to create opportunity, and I am just going to focus on 3 points today, although there are many other points to discuss. But while we focus on the commonalities we hold or the solutions to the conflict, we must us openness, listening, and clarity to move forward with resolution. Our openness must be authentic and transparent. We can’t be angry and sarcastic. We must listen with an openness and not a closed mind, while also being a resource and give options if asked. We must also provide and have clarity with no ultimatums or drawing lines in the sand. If we create a closed mind, and only talk, and create an environment of “sides”, resolution will not be found.
Conflict is everywhere every day, sometimes we are a part of it even if we don’t want to be. Sometimes we are a part of it because we insert ourselves in it. And sometimes we are the creator of it. In any of these situations, we must have the mental capacity to sit back, breathe, think of commonalities and solutions, and not react in a way that throws gas on the fire. And we will find greater success if we have an openness, we listen intentionally, and we create clarity of solutions not ultimatums. Put intentional focus on these techniques, write them down and place where you can be reminded of them, and put them to use! I would bet you will be able to use these techniques today, tomorrow, or within the next week, at work, at school, or in your own home!