Being in conflict during the course of our lives is inevitable. Depending on the dynamics, these conflicts either blow over or we get stuck in them or they get escalated. Although the basic ingredients of all conflicts remain the same regardless of the issues at stake, the characters involved or the history of the relationship, the real causes are difficult to see and understand due to distracting and binding emotions. Here are five key ‘insights’ about conflict which may help you walk your own path to liberation from all conflicts everywhere and for all time!
INSIGHT 1 - Your responsibility within your conflict situation is your contribution to the conflict. The Shift from Dissolution to Resolution: The process of responding to any person or situation happens within you. No one can make you feel anything without your permission. Your fear or anger towards others is your creation, not theirs and hence your emotions or your behavior making them the perpetrators. If you detach yourself for a moment from the conflict and think quietly, you will realize that the conflict and therefore your contribution to the conflict begins with your negative perception of others, within your consciousness, not by others and is sustained within your consciousness. This is why a conflict resolution begins with conflict dissolution; one party has to dissolve its contribution to conflict so that the process of resolution can begin.
INSIGHT 2 - The quality of energy you put into the conflict will be the quality of energy you will get back.
The Shift from Wanting to Giving: What you give is what you get, and what you get is the return of what you have previously given; the law of ‘you reap what you sow’. When you become aware of this law you become more careful about the quality of energy you give to others, regardless of who they are, or the situation that you share with them. At a subtle level we radiate attitude, and at a gross level we radiate behavior. Either way what ripples out from us will likely return in a similar form. In a conflict situation this begins with giving respect to the other.
INSIGHT 3 - You cannot make anyone do or be anything because you cannot control another human being.
The Shift from Control to Influence: In any conflict situation we are essentially disempowering our self and giving our power to the other. We also believe that others are responsible for our happiness which is obviously not true. Similarly, we cannot control others, however, we can influence the others. If we do, it completely changes the dynamics of the relationship. When we do, we have made the shift from control to influence.
INSIGHT 4 - The resolution of all conflict begins at the mental level when you accept the other as they are.
The Shift from Resistance to Acceptance: If you ever want to mentally and emotionally disarm another person in a conflict situation simply accept them as they are and their position as it is. It does not mean you ‘agree’; acceptance is not agreement. It doesn’t mean you ‘condone’ what they have said or done. It does mean you can begin to communicate and travel together on the journey towards resolution. Acceptance is not the only step, just the first step in a real relationship.
INSIGHT 5 - You are mentally attached to an outcome that is not happening in the physical dimension – only detachment can help you.
The Shift from Attachment to Detachment: In all your conflicts you have an image in your mind of the result that you want – it may be something to do with a situation or a behavior that you want from another. The truth is the conflict is happening because of your attachment to that specific result. The method you are using to create the result is the wrong method, sabotaging the outcome you want. Before we can resolve conflict it’s necessary to dissolve our part of the conflict and that means learning the art of detachment.
The reality is, human relationships are messy. People including ourselves are unpredictable. Every exchange is different. Many seem difficult. That means the above insights and their application are not rigidly sequential as stated. Resolving conflict is not about clever techniques and neat methods. Once you are familiar with the wisdom that sits behind the insights, once you see the validity of the internal shifts, then the appropriate behaviors will emerge naturally. You will intuitively begin know when to apply each insight, or a combination, and in which particular moments.
Adapted from Mike George’s article,“Are YOU in Conflict with Anyone?”© 2013