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Is Conflict All Bad?



Of course it is, right?


For the large percentage of the population who has a tendency to try to avoid conflict rather than engage it, conflict is seen as a universally bad thing.  It is a tsunami barreling across the placid tropical beach of your life - the best plan is to find an available palm tree to lash yourself to and wait until it passes.  In the process it has a good chance of destroying all that you have built, and it feels like it might even kill you as it passes.


For those who aggressively run to meet conflict rather than avoiding it, it is still usually not viewed in a much more positive light, but there can be a level of attraction to the adrenaline shot that can accompany a good fight.


There is clearly a psychological toll to conflict.  Our minds are racing, replaying the scenario over and over.  There is sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, depression.  There is also quite often a physical toll, fatigue, headaches, tension throughout your body, an upset stomach, racing heart.


So what good is there to be found in conflict?  It is rare to find people who view conflict in a positive light, not because of what it is, but because of what it can be.  If approached in the in this light, conflict can represent opportunity.  Conflict can represent freedom.  Conflict can represent new life.


Wars are conflict on a macro-level.  For millennia they have been waged for innumerable reasons rooted in human depravity and selfishness, but there are also situations where they have been engaged for noble reasons that have resulted in the preservation of life, the winning of freedom, the protection of the innocent.  Out of horrible darkness there can grow a seed of life.


So when you find yourself facing a conflict, a war, how will you respond?  Will you choose to run away and hide, hoping that it passes leaving a minimal amount of damage in it's wake?  Will you draw your sword and run towards the battle with little thought for the long-term impact of your words and actions?


Or will you take a step back?  Take a breath.  Set aside some time to think about the conflict you are facing.  Look at it from every angle.  Try to understand where the other side is coming from, their point of view.  In family, friend, or marital conflict it is often beneficial to start with the assumption that the opposing party is coming from a point of "good will", not trying to hurt you.


Once the conflict is no longer a swirling morass of words and emotions, write out a list of potential good that can come from the situation.  Seriously, write it out.  This list will become your touchstone as you proceed forward in the conflict.  Your focus can now be on positive goals to work towards, not a fear of negative outcomes.


Search diligently for the opportunity for peace in every conflict.


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