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Whether we read a seemingly endless thread of conflicting comments about a news article, watch a political debate on television, listen to parents and referees arguing at a Little League game, or even if you can’t agree with your family about what to order for dinner, conflict is present in our daily lives, it’s a natural part of life, and humans have been hardwired for conflict since the beginning of time. Although conflict is natural, it can be upsetting, unhealthy, and make our world an unsafe place to live. So it is important that we focus on resolving conflict.
Why Resolving Conflict is Important
If disagreements are part of life and everyone is entitled to their own opinions, why is resolving conflict so important? While many people would avoid conflict altogether out of fear of argument, addressing conflict doesn’t need to be a bad thing. Conflict resolution is important to consider in our daily lives, whether in the workplace or in personal relationships. Here are a few reasons why resolving conflict is important:
- Gain a Better Understanding: When you take the time to engage in conflict resolution, you are not only showing empathy, but you are gaining a better understanding about a person or the world around you. Understanding that there are multiple sides to every story is valuable.
- Strengthening Relationships: Many people don’t think they can have a healthy relationship with someone that they disagree with, but only surrounding yourself with people who share the viewpoints can be very isolating. Think of your own relationships at work and in your family. Do you agree with them all of the time? Learning how to resolve conflict in a healthy and peaceful way can result in stronger relationships and can also open you up to making new relationships.
- Being a Good Role Model: Whether you have children or young people in your life, you want them to have their opinions respected, having healthy relationships, and engage peacefully with others. If you are successful at resolving conflict, you are being a good role model and are more likely to raise children who are successful at resolving conflict.
How to Resolve Conflict
Anyone has the capability to resolve conflict, but it takes patience, practice, and dedication. Here are the steps to resolving conflict:
- Understanding the Conflict: If you don’t understand the conflict, you won’t get very far. Think about why the conflict may be happening, how it affects you, and want you’d like to see come from the resolution
- Communicate with Those Who Oppose: It’s important to communicate calmly, fairly, and give everyone a chance to speak his or her mind (regardless if you agree or not). You don’t need to agree, but you need to listen and give everyone a chance.
- Brainstorm: Conflict resolution is like an ongoing project. In addition to seeing all the sides, you need to brainstorm any and all possible resolutions, keeping an open mind.
- Choosing the Best Resolution: Choosing the best resolution may seem like an argument waiting to happen, but pick the resolution that will benefit everyone. If you can’t decide, ask a third party or seek advice from someone who is not facing the same conflict.