The Conflict Obstacle Course – by Tina Draycott

Problems are something I deal with every single day. In my job, I treat all problems like obstacle courses. When faced with a problem I go into warrior mode and try to suss out a positive resolution as quickly as possible. Problems are the bumps in the road of life.

However, conflict is different. Conflict affects someone when it creates an issue of personal misunderstanding or moral unrest. For me, conflict is not pretty. In fact, if I had to give it a face it would be that of Medusa…with the potential fall out of conflict being the snakes of her slithery mane. 

So how do we as a community, and I as a member in it, face conflict? How do we re-align ourselves after dealing with conflict and feeling that we have either lost, or had to give up, something in order to make that conflict go away?  How does conflict handle ego and morality on a level playing field? 

Politics, religion, race, gender, and sex issues are all regular guests on the conflict talk-show of life. What is the best way to deal with these issues without making enemies? 

However you look at it, having and dealing with conflict is truly a fact of life. Handling conflict is also representative of the person you are, and the person you are dealing with. 

Case in point: disagreeing with the way an idea was executed does not mean that I hate the idea, nor its original goal. Disagreeing with the way a situation was handled simply means I would have handled it differently had I been involved in the original implementation of the idea. Many times conflicting situations hold no bearing on the messenger or the message. We are all human and we all have the right to freely, without fear of reprisal, express our feelings. And sometimes I think that at its base level conflict is simply passion run amok. 

Going further, if conflict is passion, then it is not pretty and certainly not fun. But it is interesting to watch how one handles conflict, allowing the outside world to gauge a person’s morals, values, and respect for their fellow man. People who show respect without jumping to conclusions probably deal very rarely with conflict. Those who are the first to assume and attack probably deal with conflict quite a bit.

I have personally tried the regular lines of abatement – turning the other cheek, agreeing to disagree, and even acquiescing on occasion in order to alleviate the tension in the air of a particularly uncomfortable situation. But even in doing things the situation still seemed upsetting. 

Through this all I have learned a very valuable lesson. Although we have our own views on how we run and handle our lives, we have help in dealing with conflict and it is this; conflict has enemies. We can use ‘Grace’ in the way we the execute resolution. ‘Kindness’ in the way we turn the other cheek. ‘Patience’ in the way we try to figure out different ways to say the same thing that will better circumvent insult or  threat to those with whom we are having conflict. Conflict hates those things because grace, kindness, and patience hold no room for conflict. In fact, armed with those three virtues, conflict doesn’t stand much of a chance. 

So tomorrow, be a warrior and practice using your anti-conflict artillery. Show grace under pressure. Be patient with those who disagree. Use kindness when asking someone to further explain. All it will do is take a few more minutes of your time in the now. I promise it will make a world of difference in how you feel in the future. 

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