Conflict Resolution

Every single person who is reading this has most likely gotten into an argument at some point or another with either their family member, a friend, or significant other. Conflict resolution is a topic that is so common in the life of every individual, yet it is not discussed openly or nearly as often as it should be. Rather, it is aimed to be avoided entirely via classes such as anger management so there is never any conflict in the first place. This may be a great method to minimize arguments but we are all only human, and as much as we’d like to avoid conflict altogether, it is inevitable in every meaningful relationship. Sometimes, arguments blow up so big that two people never speak again, and other times they’re so insignificant that they’re forgotten about within minutes. But most of the time, they are somewhere in between. The good news is that it only lasts for you as long as you participate.

During an argument, no matter how convinced you are that you are absolutely right and the other person is most definitely in the wrong, the fact of the matter is that the other person is thinking the exact same way about you. Truly understanding this requires empathy and an open mind. What really matters is how the conflict is resolved- is it by yelling or crying or letting your emotions get the best of you, or is it by patience and understanding and logical communication? What ends up happening most of the time, is that a past event or argument is played over and over in the mind, or possible but unlikely scenarios of how the conversation could potentially go. These are all non-existent in reality and serve no purpose other than to fuel your emotions and keep the argument going, even if only inside your mind.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used correctly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive”. -Eckhart Tolle
How true these words ring. For me, the mind has been an excellent tool in my journey to self-discovery, to create my own life and decide what I give meaning to, to differentiate between good and bad and how to separate the two and focus on the positive, to finally reach the point at which I am able to put my trust in God and live in the moment. But during an argument, even my mind falls prey to the negative thoughts that fuel ego. Aside from when we are actively working towards a certain goal, most of the time there is not much we can immediately do anything to gain perfect health, flawless relationships and successful careers. All of the negative aspects of life remain no matter what, so all you can do is change your mindset, and most importantly, your actions. And that sometimes means taking the first step in attempting to solve a problem.
What keeps many people from doing this is the false fear that making the first move to resolve an argument means they are wrong and that it is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, being the bigger person is never a sign of weakness, as much as it is a sign of strength. It is a sign of maturity that I have actually always admired, and something that I continually aim to work on myself as well. It is a sign that you are confident in yourself and your life view, and that you put logic above your emotions while at the same time, remembering the big picture and putting love before pride. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily admit defeat and must apologize for being wrong, but it does mean you have to be open to listening to the other person and their reasons for being upset, and willing to take credit for your part in it, since it always takes two people to have any argument.
In the end, all you can do is justify what you can, take responsibility for your part, and try to express your point of view as calmly and firmly and clearly as you can. After that, your job is done and it is then up to the other person to either accept their own faults and understand your view-point, or stick to their ways and hold on to the argument and continue on the same way in future disagreements. Unfortunately for some, there are times when the conflict cannot be resolved and relationships must end, or there is some period of time that passed before both parties have a chance to sit down and discuss the issues at hand. Until then, know that deep inside where the energy of the Universe and the peace of God lies, you can connect with your Self and just be, for now.

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