If you’re like me you don’t naturally gravitate towards conflict. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fight, love to wrestle, and love to watch movies where victors arise from within a conflict. But, when we’re talking about me being in the midst of the conflict that’s another story.
However, the more I grow in my marriage, relationships, and in leadership I’m learning the beauty of conflict. In the midst of conflict you tend to do one of two things. Stand and fight or turn and run. You may be a fighter, the minute a conflict arises in your work place you attack it head on, no hesitation. Or, you may be a runner, the minute conflict begins to break out you either internally shrink or you look for the nearest exist.
Both fight and flight have their pros and cons. Fighters tend to deal with things head on which is extremely important. But, fighters can also tend to attack the conflict too quickly, harshly, or aggresively which in turn only makes it worse. Flighters tend to let things breathe for a minute which can help to defuse issues. But, flighters can also tend to let things breathe too long and end up burying the conflict until it is too late, it remains unresolved, or it blows up in their face.
The issue is not about how you ‘naturally’ respond to conflict the question is how do you ‘actually’ respond to conflict? You have to know why you respond the way you do. In short, both the aggressive attack and the quick run are unhealthy results of fear. You are either afraid of yourself, not trusting you will be able to work through it or you are afraid of the other person, not trusting the other person to be willing to work through the issue.
The answer is love. You have to love yourself and love the person you are entering into conflict with enough to be willing to work through whatever conflict you may encounter.
Love always hopes, it refuses to give up on the other person and it will absolutely not allow you to quit on yourself. Love knows that if you do not work through the issue it will only remain and eventually resurface. Whether it is a coworker, a spouse, a friend, or someone you encounter on the street.
In order for depth to take place in any relationship there must be conflict. Why? Because no two people fully agree on everything. The beauty of conflict is that it actually allows the depths of two hearts to be experienced. At first it seems like a collision, but when there is loving commitment there is hope, hope of one heart emerging from the fire.
You will not agree with your spouse, friends, or boss about everything. But, just because agreement is not present does not mean heart connection must be absent too.
Conflict allows for deeper intimacy, deeper understanding, and deeper oneness of heart. The goal of conflict is not about attacking it right away or rescuing yourself from it by running, it’s about growing, addressing it in the best way possible, and walking away from it with a growing sense of knowing yourself and the other.
Let’s Do This Together
In what relationship(s) are you experiencing conflict right now, how can you approach the conflict with a heart postured to go deeper with this person?