As much as we all might hate to admit it, we can’t deny the truth — conflict is necessary.
I know, you’re probably trying to resist this by asking why… But hear me out, first.
Why is Conflict Necessary?
Conflict is necessary because it pushes us out of our comfort zones.
Disagreements and conflicting opinions force us to think outside of our normal modes of operation to try and understand, or at the very least consider, the other perspective. In the same way, encountering a problem can bring out your best creative thinking skills.
Conflicts make us do more. Unexpected issues make us think creatively. Without conflict, we wouldn’t grow as quickly as we do when we come up against something that’s driving us to evolve.
Redefining Conflict: From Obstacles to Opportunities
Conflicts with another person don’t need to be seen as the worst possible thing to happen. Instead, you can see it as a chance to build stronger bonds and get to know the other person better. From this perspective, conflicts give you a chance to collaborate and succeed.
For example, if someone doesn’t agree with you at the office, there are two outcomes. You can fight each other with a winner-takes-all mentality, or you can collaborate to form a strategy that combines each side’s point of view.
What reality do you choose?
Personally, I’m redefining the way that I perceive the idea of conflict. I’m choosing to see obstacles as opportunities to do what you once thought was impossible. Will you join me, or keep viewing conflicts as something you wish you could avoid?
Distinguishing Between Necessary and Unnecessary Conflicts
Of course, that doesn’t mean that every point of interaction needs to become a conflict.
We need to be able to find the balance between the “necessary conflicts” and unnecessary drama.
The way I think of it, a necessary conflict would be something that pushes us to grow, evolve, and become the most creative. There might be friction or turbulence along the way, but the end result is a positive outcome that builds more trust, respect, and mutual understanding.
On the other hand, an unnecessary drama is an event that only brings about more stress, negative feelings, and misunderstanding.
We’ve all been faced with temper tantrums, either our own or those of others, that become a whirlwind of negativity. After experiencing unnecessary drama, you probably feel exhausted.
Understanding the difference between these two types of conflict can help us navigate our relationships and make clear decisions as to where we want to put our energy. We want to work through the conflicts that help us grow, but avoid the conflicts that drain us.
3 Ways to Manage Conflict
Since managing conflict can be tough even when we know it can be good for us, here are three rapid-fire tips to help you leverage conflict as a positive force in your life.
#1. Listen to what others are saying with the authentic desire to learn and connect.
#2. Understand other perspectives, even when you think you’re right.
#3. Relax, you’re not always being attacked. Don’t automatically go on the defense. Take a deep breath, remember your confidence, and have a conversation.