Conflicts in our lives could look like the interactions between you and that neighbour you don’t like; trying to negotiate your salary with your employer; someone trying to overcome addictions; conflict in relationships and there are many other examples. I’m sure we all know people who are graceful at mitigating conflict and others who seemingly attract it, but regardless conflict is all around us.
So, if conflict surrounds us in our daily lives and it is crucial to living our greatest life we have two choices… we can either choose to ignore or accept the conflict and there will be results of choosing both.
I want to illustrate an example of conflict with a story from my childhood. I can remember going to McDonald’s when I was a kid with my family and obviously I was excited. We ordered our food, waited for what seemed like an eternity to me then, grabbed it and then sat down. I went to open my food and the order was wrong.
Now to you, your answer to that would probably be “OKAY LITTLE MATT, JUST RUN UP TO THE COUNTER AND ASK FOR ANOTHER ONE” and that makes sense, but to me I would do everything I could to avoid conflict. In the past, if it meant I wouldn’t eat that night, I would’ve done that, or sometimes the “CONFLICT” was resolved by my parents taking it back, or in my darkest moments my superhero-sister who is four years younger than me would go to the counter with me…
I know this is a funny example, but the lessons still hold true. If we choose to ignore conflict, I believe that we are choosing not to grow. We are handing over the responsibility of our issues to someone else, or we are choosing to avoid them and by doing so we aren’t going to change.
On the other hand if we choose to accept conflict (and I want to be sure that you hear that I’m not saying you search out conflict because there’s a big difference between the two) but when we accept that conflict can bring with it a tremendous amount of growth, things change.
There are two types of conflict that I think you need to know so that when situations like these come up, you make the conscious choice of when to address them. The two terms are CONSTRUCTIVE AND DESTRUCTIVE CONFLICT.
Constructive conflict is said to be a win-win for whoever is involved. It involves the understanding from everyone that there is a need to address something like an error or a disagreement, and that by doing so there will be a future benefit. Basically, you work to turn a negative situation into a positive situation and move forward.
Destructive conflict is something that you don’t want to be a part of because it is typically nasty, emotional, and only focused one the individual sides “winning”. Destructive conflicts often end with people being frustrated, angry, and can often last much longer than the actual conflict should and cause a lot of unnecessary damage.
I’m really going to encourage you to identify situations of conflict in your life as they come up and think about whether or not they should be addressed. Once you choose to address a conflict, do everything you can to keep it constructive, and politely excuse yourself from a destructive situation until it can revisited constructively. When you are able to do this, it will affect the quality of your happiness, relationships, work life, and a lot more!
I speak honestly when I say that I usually do everything I can to avoid conflict, but over time I have learned that in certain situations it is necessary and it can be good. It’s also been neat to see how my mindset towards something I used to ignore and avoid as much as possible has shifted into a growth mindset and seeing the potential that can come from it and I hope that the ideas I’ve shared with you in this video can help you shift your mindset as well.
Do you have any stories about how conflict turned into something positive in your life? Go ahead and let me know in the comments below
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