A conflict happens when two parties don’t see things the same way. This is normal because as individual’s receiving our own interpretation of events coming out of our own individual histories, it is rare that we ever will come to the same conclusion. If it is known there exists a conflict between parties and it is allowed to fester, then the conflict grows larger over time and the possibility of coming together to resolve it seems more impossible as the conflict is not dealt with. As long as it festers, then the conflicting parties have a tendency to provoke each other and react out of anger, continuing to gather ‘evidence’ for the standoff, resulting in the parties growing farther apart. In this sense, there is no beginning to the conflict and there is no end.
A conflict starts with a disagreement between individuals, and so both parties are involved. By definition a conflict is not the fault of one person. This basic information we should keep in mind, that because there is conflict, this means that both people are contributing to it. If there was harmony, then both are in agreement. As long as the conflict stays unresolved, there is the tendency for both parties to gather evidence over time, making their own case to be the right one, finding fault in the other and building up blame.
Personalities do this to feel confirmed in their own viewpoint, and typically they will find others to tell their ‘version of reality’ to, so that they can get more confirmation for how they see it, feeling even more confident that they are right and the other wrong. What a game! The game will continue until the frustration or anger level gets so high so that the people split or go into a war, not able to resolve the difference, or more positively when a point of surrender is reached.
To come to a point of surrender, each person much realize and own up to the part they contributed to the arising conflict. Then there also needs to be a subsequent willingness to engage in discussion to work through the conflict by coming to an understanding of the others point of view. A creative discussion that can resolve a conflict requires that both people feel comfortable enough with each other to express their feelings in the matter without holding back. Even the event might be long past and not relevant to the present moment, the feelings associated with it are still in place, and so the discussion can help to resolve this aspect.
As a participant in such a discussion, each person needs to try as best as they can to see the other’s point of view, to be tolerant of it, even knowing they don’t agree with it. I think what is most important that can come out of this is that the people can then understand the reaction the other person might be having, and then be more compassionate for it, understanding that it mostly has to do with the individual history and not so much to do with oneself. By coming together and trying to understand the other we are showing that we care for the other, even we might not agree with their take on reality. If we put our energy into such a discussion, the energy won’t be wasted as the discussion itself can allow suppressed feelings to be expressed and the air can be cleared of provoking behavior coming out of unexpressed feelings.
If the conversation is creative, then an even better result will be that the two people understand each other better. When there arises a conflict and we are not willing to express our version of it or admit our own contribution to it and instead put the entire blame on others and don’t own up to our part in it, then we are missing an opportunity.
Conflict comes often in life, and especially in close relationships and group settings, and we should see these happenings as creative and not something that needs to be suppressed or eliminated. To do this we need to be able to accept each person as they are in that moment, not wanting to change them or wish that they might be different. I think this is difficult to do in daily life, but if we have the courage and the willingness to resolve conflicts as they arise, working with the people involved, then we will all grow as a result of it and peace will grow on our planet.