Dealing with Conflict In Relationships

PERSONAL GROWTH

Dealing with Conflict In Relationships

One thing is certain: conflict will happen. It is a natural and inevitable part of living. No matter how much we might try to avoid it, no matter how uncomfortable we are in dealing with it, conflict will happen all too frequently. So, what do we do? It is actually quite simple. We either effectively manage it, or we deal with the consequences of reacting ineffectively to it or leaving it unresolved.

How often does this happen? You get up feeling great. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the day is full of promise…. and by lunchtime you want to pack it in and head for some sunny island and spend the rest of your days drinking pina coladas on the beach. What causes your world to turn around? Is it the printer that doesn’t work properly, again? Or the empty coffee pot when you need another cup? Probably not, as these are things we can handle. It is more likely to be the frustration we experience when dealing with others. It might be something that someone said, or the way they said it. On the other hand, it could be an unexpected criticism about your wardrobe, an ongoing disagreement with your co-worker, your boss’s bad mood, a sarcastic comment about an idea you had, or someone’s refusal to support a decision. And so on and so on.

One thing is certain: conflict will happen. It is a natural and inevitable part of living. No matter how much we might try to avoid it, no matter how uncomfortable we are in dealing with it, conflict will happen all too frequently. So, what do we do? It is actually quite simple. We either effectively manage it, or we deal with the consequences of reacting ineffectively to it or leaving it unresolved.

Conflicts exist because people are unique, and therefore, have different values, needs and desires. Often, conflict is not about right and wrong, but about the differences in our personality styles. Managing conflict is difficult for many people because they have not been taught how to resolve differences in cooperative, nonviolent ways or they dislike the way conflict makes them feel and avoid it at all costs.

Humans have a primitive “fight or flight” defense mechanism that is automatically activated when they perceive a threat to themselves (conflict). Adrenaline provides the strength for flight (avoidance) or fight (attack). Although it is invaluable when we are in real physical or emotional danger, it sometimes causes an individual’s response to conflict to be inappropriate. What we need to do is develop a greater understanding our own reactions to conflict so that we can respond to the situation instead of react to what we think is going on.

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