You read that right. Healthy conflict. Typically we think of conflict as a negative thing, one stemming from anger, or a differing of opinion, but it’s all in how you look at it, conflict can be something positive, if you choose to look at that way.
Conflict is an opportunity to question our perspective, thoughts, or beliefs. It can open our eyes to an alternate view, or a new angle we haven’t been exposed to before, if, we walk through life with an open mind. I’ve talked about this before, I used to walk through life letting my ego run the show, I always thought I was right, even when I didn’t have the answers, I thought I knew better than you did, and I would argue my point until exhaustion, the thought of having healthy conflict never entered my mind, it was me against you, period. But now I see things differently, and no, that doesn’t mean I cave to what the other person’s point of view is, but I allow them to talk, and I allow myself to listen. Some of us too, avoid conflict at all costs, running from it, either bowing to the other person’s opinion to concede or just avoiding them all together, but here are some benefits to healthy conflict, see if you can change your mind and pick up some pointers on how to enter into conflict in a way that is more beneficial to you, and the people in your life.
1) Widens Our Perspective. Conflict can be extremely beneficial, it can widen our perspective and also challenge our own ideas and thoughts we may have carried with us from childhood, believing that there is only the one tried and true way, conflict may show us that there might be a better way, or that there might be another way at all. It also is a way that can produce solutions, if both parties are open to it, it may show different points of view and from there a resolution can be worked on, or an agreement to disagree, but the act of being open, of listening, and of at least trying to work out a solution strengthens relationships or forms new ones, as each of you learn more about the other.
2) Opportunity To Express Needs. Healthy conflict gives us the opportunity to vocalize our needs, and as I’ve talked about before, opens the door for us to ask for what we want. If our needs aren’t being met, here’s our chance to let them be known, allowing for the opportunity to then have a discussion about them. Speaking up for what we want, or believe in, allows for us to conquer our fear of getting our needs met, and sharpens our communication skills.
3) We Learn To Bend. I’ve also talked about this one before, if we don’t bend, we break. Conflict teaches us how to be flexible in relationships and in the workplace. We can’t always get our way, and, we shouldn’t, conflict helps us practice our flexibility and instills a sense of fairness into the relationships we have.
4) Helps Us To Listen. Engaging in healthy conflict teaches us how to listen. To engage in healthy conflict we need to listen to the other party, it’s not all about us, so we have the opportunity to listen to the wants and needs of others, in an active way, taking in what the other person is saying without interrupting and waiting for them to finish before we start our new thought. Again, an incredible skill to deepen any relationship.
5) Recognizing Patterns. If we engage in healthy conflict, and we are truly listening, we are better able to pick out patterns, not only in our own behavior, but in the behavior of those we engage with, which allows us to better understand ourselves and those around us. It also gives us signs of what to expect when we continue to interact with these people, and how we may react to them.
6) Brings Us Into Solution. Working these principles into healthy conflict allows us to find solutions in our daily life, and brings our thinking into solution based thinking, instead of adding to or creating problems. Change can be difficult, but if we’re willing and open to it, it can bring great resolution, and maybe even reinvention and evolution.
7) Fine Tunes Communication. Conflict allows us to fine tune our communication skills. Giving us an opportunity to state of intentions and expectations clearly and concisely without getting angry, speaking from ego, or bulldozing over the other person. Communication is truly the key to a healthy and happy life, and healthy conflict is a great way to practice it.
8) Boundary Setting. Another topic I’ve talked about before. When we engage with others we may need to set boundaries, this type of healthy conflict allows us the chance to set boundaries if we feel we need to for us to continue on in a healthy way for ourselves. Setting boundaries also lets the other people in our life in on who we are and what we’re looking for, as it does for them, we learn more about each other, and have more respect for each other when we are able to set healthy boundaries.
9) Emotional Control. Healthy conflict also is a way to practice controlling our emotions, of not letting our emotions control us. It is a great way to practice self-control and letting emotions from our past experiences or bottled up anger get thrown into a conversations it doesn’t belong, it’s about taking a breath, listening, staying in the moment, and being open to new ideas, and not letting ourselves get carried away and out of control. If we can stay in control it leads to a faster resolution, and if the other person is getting a better understanding of who we are and what our intentions are. Also, if we are able to remain calm it sends the message that we are open to resolve the issue, making people more willing to work with us and feeling like we are working together as more of a team, instead of one against the other.
10) Allows Us To Shine As Individuals. Engaging in healthy conflict sets us apart, it shows people who we really are, what we stand for, what we’re looking for, and how we’re willing to resolve an issue. It allows us to shine, and to be an example to those who may still be struggling to resolve issues in a healthy way. It allows us adjust, and allows others to adjust, as a solution is found, and it leads to far less frustration, anger, and separation with the people in our lives.
In the end it’s up to us to practice these principles, and to be open to new ideas and change, and I promise you if you do, you’ll walk away a stronger and more knowledgeable person and one with far less frustration in your lives. SLAY on.
SLAY OF THE DAY: Are you open to healthy conflict in your life? Is the conflict that you’ve experienced so far been healthy? Why hasn’t it been? What part have you taken in the unhealthy conflict? What can you do to engage in healthier conflict? Looking back at some instances that weren’t healthy, write down what they were and, using the principles above, write out some scenarios that could have made those instances healthier for you, and as a result, how the resolution could have been healthier. It’s about practicing these principles in your life SLAYER, and it takes time, but each time you practice them you’ll get better, and when you do, you see and feel the difference between unhealthy conflict and the kind that opens the door to a possible new perspective, and a solution.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you