If we have the wrong attitude toward conflict, it will be impossible to face the emerging conflicts within our lives and deal with them effectively. We realize that the word “conflict” is emotionally loaded. Many people associate conflict with destructive images of people shouting at one another, of gangs shooting at each other, of countries bombing one another.
Certainly, there are conflicted situations!
But conflict at its core involves disagreements, differing ideas and opinions, and discrepant evaluations and judgments.
Let’s look at that simple statement again – Conflict at its core simply involves disagreement.
“Conflict” can be a scary word. “Disagreement” isn’t necessarily a fun word, but it doesn’t tend to terrify. We can reframe our understanding of “conflict” to disagreement and have a fruitful starting place.
People are different. Each person walking this earth has a different slant on things, different ways of seeing what is unfolding, different strategies for dealing with all of the situations life throws at us.
Issues regarding conflict are confusing. Is conflict good or bad? How do I manage it? And on and on…
Let’s put one proposition on the table up front: conflict is necessary and beneficial – at least conflict that is focused properly is beneficial. It is only when conflict strays away from issues and begins to access our personal stories that it becomes unmanageable and destructive.