Using conflict to bring deeper connection rather than separation.
Though conflict is part of our life journey, most of us don’t welcome it. As the custodians of our growth, we are meant to hold our conflict and to steer it towards life-giving outcomes. Otherwise, we are simply releasing our responsibility for managing it and are choosing to be taken down roads that can have a negative impact on us.
Conflict will often surprise us, but it is there to alert us to the dynamics within us. We are all being shaped by adversity. Amazingly, if our conflict is engaged with creatively, it can become a transformative experience. We need healing in the wounded areas which still affect us, where people we trusted let us down and where we were hurt inappropriately.
So how can we engage our conflict in a better way? The five stages of dying that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified can help us work to resolve things. They help us to realise the stage we are in simply by identifying the feelings we are carrying around that issue. Are we avoiding a conflict or entering it even though it’s not an easy thing to do? Is our anger like a hammer with which we destroy others or is it the strength that helps us find a way through? Are we bargaining with others to diminish them or are we using the conflict to find our common good? Do we feel disempowered, depressed or that we never can get it right, or are we seeing our loss and pain, grieving what should not have happened? Are we resigned, feeling we’re all wrong or all right, or have we come to a healthy acceptance of our differences, of the truth within our preferred ways of doing things?
So, do we see a stuck, blaming, judging attitude which breaks relationships after conflict, or are we learning to work creatively with our issues, allowing them to deepen our connections and to transform us? The way we choose to steer the process lands us up in very different destinations.