Moving Past Conflict

Updated: May 9, 2021

With all the different personalities, views, and beliefs out there there's a good chance you're going to experience conflict with someone at some time in your life. Whilst healthy debates and feeling free to express one's self openly are encouraged some of us may experience negative emotions, such as resentment and anger, during the aftermath. These feelings are commonly felt for those who feel somewhat hurt, embarrassed, or even frustrated by the moment of conflict they experienced, and that's ok, but it's important that you are able to move past these thoughts and emotions before they begin to fester within you.

So what is the best way to move past conflict? Well, we're going to explore 4 action steps to resolving conflict which are; avoidance, repairing the relationship, learning from the experience, and letting go.

Avoidance - Now this type of avoidance is not what you think it is. When we talk about avoidance here we're talking about giving each person some space or distance to allow the opportunity to calm down and gather their thoughts. Emotions can be powerful things and sometimes take over, this is when we are reacting instead of responding and can unfortunately hinder progress towards conflict resolution.

Repairing the relationship - Here we look at behaviour that leads to a restoration in the relationship. Such action can involve apologising, forgiving, reaching an agreement, kind gestures, or affectionate behaviours. These can be done through verbal interaction, communicating through physical touch, writing a letter, or other gestures that communicate in some way. In some circumstances, resolution may require the assistance of professionals such as a mediator or relationship counsellor.

Learning - Any experience can provide a valuable lesson if you take to the time to explore it on a deeper level. This can be achieved through intentionally sought to understand the person’s point of view. What are they thinking, how are they feeling? Does it reflect what you think and feel or is it different in some way? Open communication is a great tool for conflict resolution when both parties are open, honest, and willing to let their guard down and simply share what's going on for them.

Letting go - And lastly, but most importantly we must learn to let go. Whether you have come to an agreement or not you need to be able to hand over and let the conflict be. Holding onto it will only cause you to stay in a place of unease. This unease can manifest into resentment, stress, or depressed states that when experienced for long periods can cause physical, emotional, and mental health issues. Some conflicts simply can't be resolved and aren’t worth it, but we can decide to let them go for the sake of the relationship and the sake of our personal growth and wellness. Letting go can be as simple as making a conscious decision or be a symbolic action such as writing a letter and burning it. Whatever you do ensure that it is meaningful for you.

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