Conflict. When one thinks of the word, one might imagine battles, arguments, hard conversations. And it could be all of these. However, conflict is more than these things. While conflict can be hard, it can also be enlightening, and even freeing. It can be an opportunity for growth and change. When facing conflict, I am reminded to draw on my maturity, my knowledge of myself and others, my ever-evolving storehouse of wisdom and restraint. Conflict is necessary. It is part of the process of moving from one season of growth to the next. Conflict is one of those stones on which I sharpen my tools.
My tools of
- Faith… in myself, in others. Faith that in this situation I/we have to capacity to move forward.
- Love…I get to practice extending love in “hard to love” spaces. This is where I hone my LISTENING skills and my practice of seeing beyond HOW words are used to WHAT is being said. A sort of reading between the lines. This helps me understand a person’s fear or doubt or lack of trust. When I get to that place, I can intentionally open my heart and extend love.
- Compassion… I can practice empathy, forgiveness, and understanding. I get better at withholding judgment. Compassion says: “ I see you.” “We’re here, in this… together.”
When involved in conflict, I ask myself the following:
Where have I experienced something similar to this? Did I survive it? Did I learn from it? Then I have FAITH to survive and learn from this experience, also.
What is this really about? What do we really need, here? When I can determine need, I can look beyond the words or actions to the person (s) and extend LOVE as we work toward addressing those needs.
“How you’re feeling is…?” I show, through my words, that I am hearing and understanding what the other person is saying, and then I can offer solutions, support. COMPASSION.
Often seen as a negative thing, I believe that without conflict, we don’t have a reason to self-reflect, question, or change. Conflict is an opportunity to grow into the fullness of one’s self. Conflict is one of life’s teachers.
What has conflict taught you? What tools have you sharpened through conflict? How have you grown? What questions do you have?
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