Hi Team,

Last week I concluded my email on "embracing conflict" by touching on the fact that it is sometimes okay (and downright advisable) to steer clear of conflict. With any conflict involving loved ones, it is wise to tread very carefully.

"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." Winston Churchill

A very valuable skill in life is to be able to differentiate between conflicts that you should embrace and deal with proactively and conflicts you should avoid or handle very delicately. The successful handling of any conflict is all about tact, attitude and empathy and you must be able to accept that you might be wrong and be open to alternative solutions. Conflict resolution invariably involves being prepared to view the argument from the other persons viewpoint. However, this is often very challenging or even painful, because it requires you to be vulnerable and open to feeling some raw emotions.

"Vulnerability is consciously choosing to NOT hide your emotions or desires from others." Mark Manson

Having said that, some conflicts you can never win, and it is good discipline to avoid people and situations that will only lead to more and more conflict and an escalation of anger.  

Conflict is often the result of poor communication. When someone does not communicate effectively, it is easy to fear the worst, or to read between the lines. Clear communication is a vital part of life and doing your work and there are no excuses for failing to communicate and allowing anger and emotions to unnecessarily develop.

So to finish this discussion on a positive note, I would like to propose four ways you can embrace conflict and turn a possible negative situation into a positive one.

  1. Don't take it personally. You cannot control other people’s reaction or behaviour, but you can certainly control your own reaction and behaviour.
  2. Involve other people in your thought process. Be open and honest with those around you and ask for their opinions and guidance.
  3. Reframe conflict as something positive. A slight change of mindset can allow you to view a situation completely differently and there can always be a positive outcome, you just have to be open to alternative solutions?
  4. Ask open ended questions and take notice of the answers. This is the powerful one, when in any conflict ask, "what can I do to help?", "What are the next steps?", "I'm having trouble making a decision on this ....., what do you think?", "I'd like to hear your opinion on .......?".

I have been aware that conflict is my kryptonite for a long time, and it will always be something I struggle with and need to work on. But researching and writing about this topic has been a small step forward on my journey of self-awareness and self-improvement. Thanks for taking part.

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and don't fight battles you can't win.

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