What’s that all about?

28 Apr

How many people does it take to have a conflict?

That’s one of the questions we ask in our Beginning Mediation and Conflict Resolution class. Often students respond with “two,” but the answer in fact is only “one.”

When one person decides that things are not OK and seeks change … that’s when the spark of conflict is ignited. If the other person is fine with it, then the conflict goes away and they move on. But if the other person doesn’t agree to the change, then there’s more fuel for the conflict fire.

The reason I bring this up is that sometimes, we have things going on inside of us that make us more vulnerable to conflict. What do I mean by that?

head-question-marks-700x400Well take my friend, Lesley, as an example. She was driving home from a long weekend vacation and realized on her trip that she was really aggravated – way more than she should be after a few days away. So, she asked herself “What’s that all about?” and spent most of the rest of her journey trying to figure out what was going on that made her feel so agitated.

Lesley told me the reason she did that self-analysis was because she knew that if she went home with that kind of attitude, she would surely have gotten into it with her husband – perhaps even over a really simple thing. So, she worked hard to try to figure out what was bothering her and to see if it was something she could address.

I thought it was really a smart thing for Lesley to do. So, the next time I am feeling unsettled and vulnerable to being in conflict, I’m going to ask myself what it’s all about and hopefully, find a way to address it – or at least be aware of it – so I can avoid unintended conflict.



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