There have been a few relationships in my life, personal, professional and familial which are best described as high conflict. I used to think I managed conflict well when in fact I avoided it and side stepped the issue. Usually that resulted in becoming stressed. Not a great strategy at all and certainly a contributor to dis ease and unhappiness - even if I was smiling.
I am really fortunate right now to work in a positive professional environment where, if we don't agree on a topic we have a safe enough process to be able to speak our own and listen to - and hear - others opinions. I have worked in other organizations where this is not the case and have usually left as a result of the lack of ethical practice or because I felt so stressed and didn't want to be there. In one case I tried to change the status quo and was fired.
In my work oftentimes one of the contributing factors to families needing support is conflict - either with a government organization, within their own family or within themselves.
Conflict can be a really healthy tool within a team, in a family, even within oneself when it is managed well and others are treated respectfully and their views given equal status. In oneself it can spur us on to acts of amazing creativity, generosity or to take a positive risk. However when the opposite occurs, colleagues are bullied or their views dismissed, and internally it becomes the reason we stay stuck in victim - blaming others for our circumstances. When we are surrounded by unhealthy and conflicted relationships the chances of a healthy and balanced life is not too likely and not managing conflict well can lead to a serious health risk both mentally and physically.
Ex partners, children, work colleagues, being audited, an accident, money matters - there are so many ways that conflict can and does enter our every day lives. How we handle the conflict is what make the difference to our health and happiness. Understanding our conflict style, considering whether they are effective or we need to consider trying things differently in those given situations, will go a long way to help.
Step 19 Exercise
Review the links below and consider your conflict style - how you handle conflict. Think about a situation that is ongoing or re-occurring in your life where conflict plays a big part and you are left feeling stressed, bullied or victimized. Consider whether trying a different style may help. If the issue is causing you emotional or physical harm consider consulting a professional coach, trained in conflict resolution, to help you figure out ways to handle it. My training includes managing conflict and I would be happy to hear from you at email@example.com or recommend an alternative coach or professional organization.
Quote for the Day
“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict - alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”