To Fight or Not to Fight (The Healthy Argument)
Updated: Mar 9
No matter how well we try to get along with others, there will come a time where we step on someone’s toes. Conflict is part of the human experience and while attempting to avoid it seems desirable, working with conflict is ideal. But how do we fight in a healthy way?
Keep yourself in a calm emotional state. This other person may have offended you in some way and it is very easy to get angry and shoot back at them to “show them a thing or two.” That emotional feeling is an ego defense arising which places the body into the fight or flight mode. Majority of the time, this emotional state is not helpful in solving conflict. It is better to take a deep breath, walk away, or ask for a few minutes to collect your thoughts before you respond. Remaining calm is the best way to face conflict head on.
Recognize there is no “me vs them” but “us vs the problem.” To peg the other person against you is to create a situation where conflict will most likely not get solved. You two may be on opposite sides of the coin, but to attempt to come together to find a middle ground makes all the difference in the world.
Take ownership of your side of the conflict.Acknowledge your mistakes or the shortcomings in your viewpoints. Remember that, in most cases, there is no “right” and “wrong” but rather a matter of perspective. By giving yourself ownership in some part of the conflict, you can make the conversation flow a lot easier.
“Agree to disagree” is a thing. Remember that your conflict may not end up having a resolution. It is completely okay if someone doesn’t see your point of view. While it can feel disheartening, remember that those are your own expectations at play. Taking ownership of your own expectations is helpful when dealing with the resolution not going the ideal way.
Conflict is never easy and if done poorly, leaves everyone feeling bad. By applying some of these tips, your next conflict may go a little smoother. Some of these ideas will take some practice, so don’t get disheartened if you forget it occasionally. Keep on trying and eventually you will be able to flow with conflict.
Contributed by Amanda Messinger, LCPC, CADC
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