Conflict is Natural: A core belief behind finding win-win resolutions.
July 15, 2022
July 15, 2022
Here’s a strange thought: what if conflict is natural?
Wait wait wait – before you scoff at the idea and hastily close your browser, hear us out! This isn’t a nihilistic outlook that decries hope as futile and hardship as our inevitable reality. No no…rather, it is an invitation to accept that living in community inherently means that we will be interacting with people who are different than us – which is bound to be both a potent source for both joy and friction.
Conflict is undoubtedly uncomfortable, but what if we were to accept it as an unavoidable aspect of life? It seems to be an integral part of relationship; rearing its ugly head in even the most healthy ones. And so it begs the question: how can we better work within conflict rather than fight against it?
Let’s imagine for a moment that it’s an ordinary weekday in your life. You wake up in the morning feeling fresh and ready for the day. You hop in the shower and warm up the vocal cords with an off-key version of your favourite song – still fresh! You don a towel and brush your teeth – feeling minty and good! Retrieving your phone, you toggle it out of airplane mode and…bleep bleep bleep – notifications suddenly flood in, carrying forward the connections from yesterday. Some of the messages make you smile, while others force a reflexive cringe into your body and mind. You contemplate brushing your teeth again to re-find some freshness, but deep down you know that the only way forward is to face things.
Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum; in fact, it is as much defined by who we are as it is by our interactions with others. In this there’s a lot that is out of our control, which is a recipe for both beautiful serendipity and unexpected challenge – two sides of the same coin that cannot exist without the other.
Here at the Mediation Services offices in Winnipeg, we facilitate a safe space for conflict resolution from this foundational belief that conflict is natural.
This stance towards conflict can bring about positive changes in our relationships, despite the challenges that arise within them. But it requires us to work through the discomfort.
When face-to-face with a tough situation, try to remember: conflict is natural. Take a deep breath and slow down any reflexes that might kick in to fight or run away. Every situation is different, but it’s worth noting that conflict needn’t be considered a competition that has a single winner. With a little bit of work (and a little less judgement), the pursuit can be shifted to aim for a win-win resolution.
With practice, our response will take on a more relaxed shape. Leaning into difficult conversations, we can take an active role in pursuing beneficial outcomes.
Remember: there is hope in the fact that we can cultivate conscious choice in how we respond to things that happen to us.
There’s no getting around the fact that working with the conflict in your life takes daily effort though. The good news is, if we accept it as natural then we will see lots of opportunity to hone our skills with practice. When you show up and begin exploring what this looks like for you, we’re here with some tools to help you cultivate curiosity and connection that will help get you there.
Introduction to Conflict Resolution: Dealing with Difficult People is an online course we’ve developed for exploring the fundamentals of mediation in daily life. It is conveniently accessible from anywhere at anytime – there for you exactly when you might need it. You can sit down to learn at your own pace, and then integrate it with what you face when you step out into your life.
Or, browse the scheduled programming coming up and join us in-person or online (live via Zoom). We continue to fill the calendar with options that seek to address the current needs of the community, so do keep an eye on this blog and our newsletter for the latest and greatest.
Every relationship has the potential for highs and lows, and the only way to avoid the lows is to avoid relationship altogether – which, in so doing, also robs us of the highs. And even then, it’s impossible to live in a vacuum and so conflict is inevitable. It is our belief that it is better to embrace life with all of its peaks and valleys, while at the same time learning to better navigate them both.