If you’re like most people, you find yourself shying away from conflict. You find yourself saying “I hate conflict” and then find ways to avoid it at any cost. The problem is that the “avoid at any cost” comes with a really high price point.
What price point have you paid? I can confidently guess that it’s come at the cost of your integrity, happiness, and peace of mind. How do I know you’ve paid this price? After almost 20 years of experience in helping people change their lives, I’ve come to know the fear of conflict really well.
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to conflict is that they treat all conflict the same. When we pool all conflict into the same container, we can’t break down which conflict is healthy from the unhealthy. Yes, there are types of healthy conflict that make your life better. If you want to break free of the fear of conflict and learn how to embrace it instead, let’s start with these first 3 steps.
Step 1: Find the source of fear
Grab a journal and start writing about where the fear of conflict comes from. How did you learn to fear conflict? Who taught you to avoid it at all costs? What price have you paid in the past for having conflict? It’s really typical that our past experiences influence our current choices. If you learned at a young age that conflict wasn’t safe and that bad things could happen in conflict, then you’ll have most likely taken this story into your adult life.
Once you find the source, ask yourself if that assumption still stands. We often make promises to ourselves as a young person and keep those promises. We forget to re-assess them and ask ourselves if they’re still relevant. We tend to forget that as adults we have resources, choices, support, and capacity to take control of our lives.
Step 2: Which conflicts are healthy
Yes, there is conflict that is healthy and a sign of a good relationship. The ability to work through differences is a good thing and you’ll get better at it. But first, you have to decide which type of conflict you’re willing to have.
What is something you tend to compromise on and then later beat yourself up about? Who is the first person that comes to mind when you think about conflict? What do you want to say no to? Make a list as long as possible and allow yourself to begin to see these types of conflict as a way to express yourself instead of it being fear-driven.
Step 3: Go forth and conflict away
You can’t learn a new skill from just reading or talking about it. At some point, you have to jump into the pool and start swimming. You’ll flounder, swallow some water and possibly feel like you’re going to drown. But, then you’ll put your feet down and realize that you can stand up….trust me, you can totally do this!
It’s our differences that make relationships so amazing. In healthy conflict, we get to know who we truly are and get to build a richer relationship with those around us. Aren’t you dying to know what someone in your life is passionate about? Don’t you want to know what you’re passionate about? Have some healthy conflict and you’ll find out!
Join me on Thursday for our Facebook Live where I’ll break down how to have a conflict with someone in a healthy way where you can “fight fair”.