If we can see past the problems we’ve had with conflict in the past and focus on how it can help us, we can change our relationships and even ourselves. Here are the ten benefits of conflict.
1. Conflict opens our eyes to new ideas. As thoughts are expressed back and forth, we allow someone else to fine-tune the truth we are trying to speak as our truth rubs against theirs. In this way, conflict is creative. Think of it as fine-tuning the instrument to your individuality.
2. Conflict is an opportunity to take a stand to get our needs met. I will share with you that most people do not get what they want because they do not say what they want. Conflict is an opportunity to learn to verbalize our needs and get them met.
3. Conflict teaches flexibility. If we are in conflict, we are not just going to have others be adjusting to us and our truth, but we will also be adjusting to someone else and their truth.
4. Conflict teaches us to listen. The key to any successful conflict is to learn to listen. To truly hear to someone, listening must be active, not passive. Listening requires self-control. We need to make it our goal to be quiet and refrain from talking until the other person is done talking.
5. Conflict teaches us patterns of behavior. As we engage in conflict, we will learn about how others think, their style of communication and their points of view. Knowing someone else’s patterns provides some form of predictability and helps us be more effective in our relationships.
6. Conflict leads to solutions. When what was happening isn’t working any longer, something new has to be formed to establish a new relationship or a new way for things to operate. In some way, conflict is a form of brainstorming with the end result being a new solution or path.
7. Conflict provides an opportunity to practice communicating. The more we engage in conflict ,the better of a communicator we will become. This is not to say we should go out and create conflicts, but the intention is not to be afraid to participate in conflict when it arises.
8. Conflict is an opportunity to set limits. As we set and experience our limits, we are learning great information about ourselves that we can now communicate. We can learn to either back off or we can learn to activate for ourselves and ask someone else to back off.
9. Conflict provides an opportunity to practice emotional control. We do not have to be so emotional all the time. If we want to be taken seriously, we must approach conflict seriously. We must learn to remain calm, to say the fewest words possible to get our point across, and stay firm in setting our way.
10. Conflict provides an opportunity for us to differentiate ourselves from other people. We can learn a great deal about who we are through the differences we have with other people and/or life. This is called differentiation. Differentiation is our capacity to tell our truth as clearly as we see it all the while remaining engaged with those who are different from us.
Little Life Message: Remember conflict doesn’t require agreement. It requires adjustment.
Dr. Sherrie Campbell is an author and a licensed psychologist with more than 19 years of clinical training and experience.Click here to get her free article on Five Ways to Make Love the Common Ground in Your Communication. Join her Facebook community of others looking to improve their relationships. For more information visit http://www.sherriecampbellphd.com.