We all have dealt with conflict while navigating difficult people. For many of us they tend to drain our energy which affects our focus and wastes our time. If we would learn to deal with those opposing forces differently, we would find that our greatest challenges can make us so much stronger and better than we already are. Ultimately if you really want to grow there are a few things that can be learned from dealing with an adversary just by taking control of your anger while managing the situation at hand.
Whenever we spend (or waste) time focusing on ways to counter attack I believe we are the ones that are losing because the adversary is distracting our focus from what is really important. When your adversary gets you to the point that you are consumed with their attack or even getting them back they have successfully removed you from more productive pursuits. Even if you win the fight, is it a fair trade for your time, energy, blood pressure and unnecessary stress?
Here are a few tips for handling these unavoidable situations:
- Redirect your energy: Once you get your heart out of the battle you can redirect that negative energy to something more positive and productive. The time you wasted focusing on your opponent could be used to write an article, read a book, hit the gym, do something to better yourself and indirectly drive your adversary crazy because you are no longer vested in the battle. We lose wars when we waste time with fruitless battles.
- Step away from the conflict: Too often we get consumed by the conflicting situations and enter a downward spiral. If you take time to back away from the conflict and take another look your perspective will change and you will soon see just how petty and minute the whole issue is. If you cannot change it, change the way you look at it. If you do not allow yourself the opportunity of a different view you will definitely miss the chance at a simple solution because you are too busy developing your next few punches in the fight.
- Be the better person: It is just as much the adversary’s job to take shots at you as it is your job to define the moment. The only way to define the moment is to manage your reaction to it. Either take the high road or get dirty in the sandbox while playing childish games with your opponent. When you take the high road by ignoring their foolishness and dousing them with kindness it will be very difficult for you to do anything but shine.
- Make a peace offering: The most effective way to make a peace offering, or extend an olive branch, is to create a positive environment by finding ways to work through the conflict. Don’t sit and wait for opposing forces to make the first move. Take the initiative and offer to have a voice-to-voice conversation. Let the person know that you are willing to hear their complaint and then ask them what you could do to change the way they perceive you. Be open to receive while making a note of their suggestions. Then calmly share your perception. Even if you disagree, you can still make a conscious decision to work towards a peaceful outcome.
The biggest mistake people can make when conflict arises is to assume that it automatically mandates the end of the relationship. In reality conflict is a symptom, not a diagnosis. It is a sign there is something deeper that needs to be discussed and dissected.
Conflict has many facets to it but when managed correctly it can be beneficial to your life and development. The conflicting situation is not what matters most; the real issue is how you decide to respond to it. Remember the choice is always yours.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)