Conflict, specifically, healthy conflict, provides an opportunity for growth. It can excite a new way of viewing the world and empower relationships.
Why Healthy Conflict is Essential
In the beginning of the coming-of-age novel, The Fiche Room, Emma Hill avoided conflict at all costs with those closest to her. She feared fighting and what it would do to her life. She didn’t want to rock the boat because by doing so, she’d have to face potential hurt, chaos, and truths that she’d kept hidden all her life.
Overall, she feared letting others down. She wanted to meet their expectations. She certainly didn’t want to fail at the things she really wanted out of life. Ultimately, she feared facing rejection and hurting others.
Chiefly, she assumed that by keeping the peace, her relationships could stay healthy. Although, what she failed to understand was that by remaining amenable, she caged herself and those she loved. Also, she destroyed the delicate tapestry of honesty, integrity, and trust.
Silence is not the answer
Before Emma met Haley, a woman who stirred her heart in a wonderful, strange way, Emma suffered. She put on a fake smile when at her work and with her fiance. No one ever challenged her to stand up for her desires the way Haley did. Prior to their meeting, Emma didn’t even realize she had been dormant. But, once that first spark flew, Emma couldn’t stay silent any longer.
She found someone worth fighting for. Living a life she no longer agreed with would no longer be an option. Ironically, amenability threatened the very thing she had protected all her life – love.
She could no longer stand back and accept things at face value.
Not until she spoke her mind, did she blossom and become a woman fully capable and deserving of love.
Healthy Conflict is Possible
Just as Emma learned, avoiding conflict isn’t the answer. In fact, conflict has many benefits. Firstly, healthy conflict can lift us to new levels of thinking and interacting. Furthermore, it can excite a new way of viewing the world. More so, it can breed win-win solutions, stimulate creativity and new ways of thinking, and empower relationships.
6 Ways to Healthy Conflict
Look for the Benefits
By seeking benefits, you’ll gain benefits. Your brain will search and not stop until it finds them. As a matter of fact, if you enter an argument with a benefits-oriented attitude, you’ll create a winning environment where opinions can be shared without fear, judgment, or disrespect. This gives birth to healthy conflict.
View Conflict as a Golden Opportunity
Healthy conflict offers you an opportunity to spread your wings and clear new ground. If we always act and think within our comfort zones, we’ll always get the same results. By opening up our minds to new ideas, we promote healthy growth and empowerment. Significantly, learning how to solve problems puts you at a great advantage. By doing so, you develop critical interpersonal skills that help move relationships to higher levels.
Take the personal out of the argument and you will raise the outcomes of conflict to a more satisfying level. Generally, most people enter arguments carrying a certain amount of armor to protect against the attack on their ideas and opinions. One simple way to disarm defenses is to avoid personal attacks. Don’t blame the person, instead, communicate how her action hurt you. Do this and the person feels less defensive and will remain open to hearing your points.
Determine the End Goal
What does the other person really want? You should ask yourself what you want too. Ultimately, stating up front what you want to accomplish will help both of you remain focused on that end goal.
Take on the other person’s position by asking yourself: What could be the reason she is upset? By doing this, you can communicate that you truly understand the reason she is upset. When someone feels heard and understood, she’s more apt to remain open to sharing and listening – two important components to healthy conflict.
Ask More of Yourself
Ask yourself what you could do better in this situation. Addressing the conflict constructively encourages you both to shed new light on old issues that may be holding you back from progress. Furthermore, new ideas yield dynamic options that allow you to solve disputes and find solutions to what could have potentially blocked you from a resolution.
Over to you. What are your thoughts on conflict?