Personal Development and Spirituality Topics

with Karen Scheel

The Nature Of Conflict

The nature of every relationship is to present us with challenges important for our spiritual growth. Learning to be in right relationship with the world in which we live is the primary reason that we as human beings exist. Sharing our lives with others is a life long journey that requires skill. Each human being has differences and differences are always going to be a part of every relationship. The difference between relationships that work and those that don’t depends on how well people deal with the conflicting challenges bound to come up. We all have our own unique way of thinking, feeling, seeing, and expressing ourselves. Too many of us tend to assume we know when our knowledge is rarely complete as every thing is always in a constant state of change. Many of us often become emotional and/or angry when we experience people with values and beliefs that differ from our own. If we are not able to accept the incompleteness within our limited knowledge then conflict as our teacher always arises. It is born to make us more aware of how we are responding to the differences at any given point in time.

At the core, conflict is often about unhealthy and unresolved psychological needs from the past. When these unmet needs surface, we tend to react in a defensive and self-protective manner. We usually do not give any benefit of doubt, because we are putting our energy into reliving these unhealthy negative experiences in our mind. This enables us to justify our inability to exercise self-control and lash out. Lashing out either verbally or physically is a form of abuse that usually stems from our need to control and have power over a situation when in reality the only thing we can have complete control over are our own thoughts, attitudes, and actions. It always takes two to make or break any relationship – no one person can ever be completely responsible for what is right or what is wrong. However, we are always completely responsible for maintaining our own behavior when our buttons are being pushed. When a person or country uses any act of violence or abuse it is a very serious statement that things are not in right relationship. Therefore, we must break the cycle of lashing out and placing blame. We must stop finding fault and work towards managing and resolving conflict in more appropriate ways.

It is impossible for people to know instinctively what another may want or need. In order to have our wants, needs, and expectations met, we must first learn how to communicate them. Conflict resolution begins with good communication. Good communication requires good listening. Listening is a balance between head (thinking) and heart (feeling). Truly understanding another perspective requires good listening along with clarifying what we have heard with good questions. Asking questions to clarify what we think we heard helps us to avoid the traps – jumping to conclusions and making assumptions. We cannot speak and listen at the same time. Listening requires silence so that we may begin to hear without judgment. It is a dance of giving and receiving. Rather than allowing your mind to react emotionally you make a choice to exercise discipline and mind your thoughts. You suspend your point of view, your judgment, and your feelings so that you may validate the psychological needs and feelings of another, regardless of whether you agree. Respecting the need for silence while another is communicating gives space for each person to explore his or her thoughts and feelings more deeply. It also allows both to choose their words more carefully so that they may express their opinions or ask questions in a positive and unassuming way. True listening enables us to receive (hear) something that may spark us to move “out of the box” that our normal “in the box” way of thinking may have never thought of before.

In essence, conflict is a gift that challenges us to stretch and open our mind so that we may learn how to communicate and understand the differences. Being in right relationship is a process of learning how to move beyond the boundaries of a singular point of view to reach mutual understanding. Therefore, conflict resolution is not possible until we can demonstrate respect and communicate effectively. This requires complete honesty – saying what we mean and meaning what we say without attacking. Learning to validate and understand differences usually leads to new ideas and ways of being in our world. And when we open our mind to the differences and begin to accept and appreciate them as tools important for our personal development then growth and healing change is possible.

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  1. Awesome!!!

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