Many of us dread conflict. We wish we could all just get along.
Life, however, has other ideas for us. Everyone is here to be their true selves, have their own opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. How boring things would be if we all agreed on everything all the time? Where would our creativity be needed?
The exciting thing about conflict is that it forces us to expand into a greater creative expression of ourselves. Every time I have found the courage to call someone to task and have a discussion about our conflicting opinions, good things have happened. It doesn’t mean I always get my way, but I do put myself in a position to express my opinion, speak my truth, and listen to their side. Then I have a CHOICE: find an agreement, or walk away from the relationship/situation. And, importantly, I feel good about myself, as I know I have made every effort to find a resolution.
If we don’t speak up, we are sitting on an energy of resentment, fear, or frustration which can lead, later on, to unconscious expressions of that same energy which will probably not have good outcomes.
Conflict is not inevitable. Conflicts are created by people and people can choose to end them. This cannot happen if the parties are set on victory instead of compromise, or if they prioritize self-centered interest over the highest good of everyone concerned.
When the willingness to be available for discussion exists, there is no conflict that cannot be resolved.
If conflict is rooted in an ‘us’ and ‘them’, or ‘me’ and ‘you’ approach, then peace-building is precisely the opposite. We have to get past the adversarial mind-set, and involve everyone concerned in addressing the common challenges, listening to other points of view, and seeing where we can meet, with an emphasis on what we DO agree on, and not on what we don’t agree on.
When the focus is on what we all want, and not on what we don’t want, there is a higher possibility of success.
Our personal histories are all, in one way or another, shaped by the legacies of conflict. But as profound and deep-rooted as our differences may be, it is in our power to redefine those legacies and, in so doing, redefine ourselves. Wherever we live in the world, we must recognize that peace is not something you can win – it is something that has to be built and shared.
Here are 7 suggestions for conflict resolution:
1. Start with the points you all agree on. This sets a positive foundation of agreement to build upon.
2. Can you all agree that the outcome you want is for the highest good of everyone concerned?
3. Are you willing, if necessary, to set aside your personal interests for the highest good of everyone concerned?
4. Can you allow yourself to admit you are wrong? And/or admit that you hadn’t seen the situation from the other person’s point of view?
5. Are you speaking from wisdom or from self-centered ego?
6. Do you want to be right, or be happy?
7. Before starting a conflict resolution do the following meditation, either alone or with the other people, to help bring your wisest self to the table. The more you are at peace within yourself, the more likely you are to manifest a positive outcome.
2 Minute “Setting an Intention” Meditation
Set the intention that you want the outcome of your discussion to be for the highest good of everyone concerned. Sit silently, eyes closed, relaxing into acceptance of what is, with compassion for yourself and everyone involved.