Constructive Conflict – Part 1

As we have seen before, conflict is an unavoidable part of life, and sometimes even necessary.  As iron sharpens iron, so we sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17), and when iron sharpens iron, sparks fly!

But conflict rarely seems to make us feel like welcoming the sharpening of our lives.  Rather, it tends to happen as an outcome of something that feels negative or that promotes awkward tension inside us.  Avoidance can be preferable to pain and, although the need to resolve tension can seem logical, it is often the case that we accommodate and adjust in the interests of preserving relationships or saving face.

Let’s have a look at some aspects of conflict and see how we could perhaps address any conflict we may have more constructively.  This might turn it from a negative to a positive and see our lives (and those of others) enriched.

1. Don’t run!  Avoidance keeps the negativity on the basis of preventing more, but constructive conflict needs to see it turned into a positive for our benefit as well as the other person.  It releases us from hurt and offence. You can’t control outcomes, but you can’t hold your head high (or grow) unless you address it.

2. Talk, don’t text.  Texting is another form of avoidance.  Just like the use of Facebook or email, electronic redress asks for more trouble.  Face-to-face meetings (or phone calls if absolutely necessary) allow a rapid exchange of ideas, avoid emotional outbursts being committed to the permanency of print, and allow vocal intonation and body language to aid understanding. Technology may be progressive in one sense but using it to solve conflict is taking a backward step.  If conflict starts via technology, bail out and pick up the phone, have a chat and make an appointment.

More tomorrow!


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