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Can Conflict Actually Improve Relationships?

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Conflict resolution is a process that not only resolves the problem at hand, but also can actually improve relationships. Conflict is a natural element of all human relationships. It cannot be avoided. In fact, avoiding conflict tends to lead to more and increased conflict at a point in the future. We all reach a point of choice in our lives on how to navigate the waters of human relationships. Some of us give up and others attempt to adjust. This topic is rarely covered positively at home, in schools, in the media or on the street. Since we have not learned to adjust our response, we often act on impulse allowing a situation to lapse into fight or flight. This response leads to a perpetuating cycles of misunderstanding and violence.

Conflict can lead to division and discord as the two common misconceptions have trapped us in fight or flight reactions. We overgeneralize and judge, seeing the other side as the enemy. In hostile reductionism we narrow our vision, diluting the human experience to that of one thing or one point of conflict. The other alternative is to simply flee from the conflict feeling shame for disagreeing thereby denying our own concerns to avoid confrontation. Never communicating our needs, we give in and settle for a superficial and temporary remedy. Either response is dualistic.

Instead of labeling the other person or our ourselves as bad or wrong, see this as an opportunity or contrasting life situation that will allow you to build a bridge to a better place, a more desirable moment. Conflict becomes a means for better understanding ourselves and one another. It can create a barrier or a bridge, depending on how one responds.

In the western world, we habitually fall into the logical fallacy seeing all life as either win or lose, right or wrong, all or nothing. Yet if we look to nature for wisdom, here we will see that all creation is comprised of complementary opposites. Dualism limits our options and makes us see differences as threatening. See others as part of the life's journey, either in alignment with one's desire or a pointer to one's newly learned desire. Rather than picking sides, how about seeing any point in time that does not feel right as a point of contrast? This marks the opportunity to better educate, to understand, to learn and then either resolve or to realign behaviors with yet a new desire or objective. This creates a flow that always moves us to a better place. The alternative is to "be right," static and stuck.

Look beyond friend or foe,
Profit or loss,
Fame and disgrace.

You will always prevail in any conflict situation using this approach.

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