Mar 222013 7 Responses

Don’t Seek Conflict, But Do Embrace It

Your greatest opportunity for transformation is found in conflict.

In marriage, at work, with kids, on the ball field, nothing provides an opportunity to learn more about yourself and to grow than moments of great tension.

The problem is that while conflict provides opportunity for change, we miss it because conflict always touches on our deepest wounds.

  • Your momma didn’t hold you enough as a baby—conflict will touch it.
  • Your daddy never told you he loved you—conflict will touch it.
  • The first girl you loved left you heartbroken—conflict will touch it.
  • Don’t feel secure—conflict will touch it.
  • Paranoid—conflict will touch it.

Whatever your deepest wound, conflict will touch it and either threaten pain or actually cause pain. Even the threat causes us to run. We put up our defenses and do everything in our power to protect our hearts.

This habit destroys us.

  • It keeps couples from having meaningful conversations.
  • It prevents businesses from ending bad habits.
  • It causes teams to live with bad chemistry.

Our reaction to conflict causes us to miss the great opportunity which conflict provides. Given a chance to grow, we stay the same because we are afraid.

One of the greatest skills we can posses is the ability to embrace conflict. We shouldn’t seek it. We shouldn’t search for conflict in every situation and force it. That would be insanity. It would be an impossible way to live. Someone looking for a fight will always find one because they will create one. We shouldn’t create conflict, but we should embrace it when it naturally comes our way.

If a person has the ability to embrace conflict, to view it as an opportunity to change, they can grow with a speed which few can match.

Teams improve when they embrace conflict. Marriages grow stronger when they don’t run from tension. Individuals blossom when they learn the lessons which are taught by strife.

There are several ways we can learn to embrace conflict:

Remember, you aren’t perfect. You will make mistakes. You will misunderstand. You will be misunderstood. You will hurt the feelings of others. You will have your feelings hurt. Your lack of perfection guarantees not just the presence of conflict, but the need for it. Without conflict, you might be confused into thinking you are something you are not.

Remember, others aren’t perfect. They will make mistakes. They will misunderstand. They will be misunderstood. They will hurt the feelings of others. They will have their feelings hurt. Their lack of perfection guarantees not just the presence of conflict, but the need for it. Without conflict, you might be confused into thinking they are something they aren’t.

Recognize your default setting. Conflict touches our deepest wounds so it affects each of us differently. We must learn what negative emotions conflict causes within us so that we can recognize them. By recognizing these emotions, we can expect them and prepare for them. If we know what to expect, we can feel the emotion, but not be driven by them. We can experience the emotion, but not dwell on them.

Remember to focus on the problem not the person. Problems are not people. Even if people cause problems, it is one action or attitude and not the whole person. When we focus on the problem and not the person, we can approach conflict without taking it, or making it, personal.

It’s tempting to avoid conflict because we think it will make life better. It might make the moment easier, but avoiding conflict will not lead to a better life. It will lead to a life of paranoia and fear because we will not be able to handle conflict. By learning to embrace it, learn from it, and grow from it, transformation can take place.

 

7 Responses to Don’t Seek Conflict, But Do Embrace It
  1. [...] trying to live life together. Conflict is guaranteed. While we shouldn’t seek it, we should embrac... kevinathompson.com/the-task-of-marriage-conflict-resolution
  2. […] the situation becomes tense. Conflict is a minefield which can do more damage than good. While we s... kevinathompson.com/conflict-lessons-wedding-gone-wrong
  3. […] shouldn’t pick fights, we also shouldn’t duck them when they come our way. One of the be... kevinathompson.com/6-common-mistakes-fighting
  4. kjbrown39 Reply

    Kevin, in 30 years, I don’t think that my husband has once said to me, “Honey, please don’t click that pen/make that noise/chew so loudly/tap on the steering wheel/pick your nose” (you get the picture), but I probably ask him two or three times a day not to do something that annoys me to death. Maybe he is just more fidgety. Maybe I am more sensitive. Regardless, it feels like hen pecking on my part and/or an lack of respect and maturity on his. What is your best advice for taking on this continuous kind of conflict?

  5. […] provides tools for solving conflict (See: Don’t Seek Conflict, But Do Embrace It) […]... kevinathompson.com/marriage-books
  6. […] Their greatest teacher is often conflict. Any relational rub is an opportunity to learn a new skill,... kevinathompson.com/one-thing-determins-marital-success
  7. […] 2. When you have a problem with someone (or they have a problem with you), talk to them about it fac... kevinathompson.com/things-preach-dont-practice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.