“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” ~ Max Lucado
No one really likes conflict, and yet sometimes it shows up in our lives more than we want it to. It is easy to blame a parent, spouse or child, assuming it is their behavior that creates the conflict. Often there is a pattern of criticizing, judging or trying to change the other so that we can have some peace.
In politics, I was always struck by the irony in the phrase “fighting for peace,” War does not create peace in the world, or in our relationships. It is only by being peaceful ourselves that we can create peace. It takes two sides to have a war or a fight, and we can decide not to be one of them.
How then, do we deal with differences? The “peaceful warrior” states what he or she thinks, feels or wants and listens carefully to the other’s point of view. If the other is open to discussion or negotiation, things proceed amicably.
If, however, one is met with resistance or opposition, there is a choice to be made. Either make a statement of intention indicating a desire not to fight, and to seek solution, or decide to end the conversation. Creating peace requires recognizing when conflict is immanent, and making a conscious choice not to co-create that.
By refusing to fight, others may follow the example and take a more positive approach. If, instead, you find that too many things are unresolved because the other will not have a reasonable discussion, once again, there are choices to make.
If the person is not someone you live with, you can choose to have less to do with them. If it is a partner, you have to decide if you want to keep living with someone who will not listen to you respectfully and work with you to resolve differences. Even a “peaceful warrior” does not have to stay in a war zone. Professional counselling to learn positive communication skills can save a relationship. It is well worth a try.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
Related MP3s Available:
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Communication in Relationships
When Relationships Break Down