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Using Conflict as a Force for Good

A recap of the Embracing Conflict Adventure with Oval Options

When conflict arises, within us or outside of us, we feel anxious, unsure, doubtful, and maybe even scared. We don’t like confrontation, because when we’re faced with opposition, there’s always an opportunity of facing some kind of loss. It could be the loss of a friendship due to differing views, the loss of an argument because we didn’t have the right words or attitude to bring about a mutual agreement, or even the loss of self because we’re so afraid of conflict we would risk our identity and values to keep the peace. Conflict is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

On October 18th, TEDxMileHigh partnered with Oval Options to talk about conflict and how it can be an opportunity and a force for good if we embrace it instead of fight it. The group talked about social issues, politics, and laws, in order to recognize and identify conflict styles and ways that they can be used to interact with conflict productively.

Where there is disagreement, there are pockets of unshared knowledge and opportunities to learn spread far and wide. Learning, in the context of conflict, is rarely pleasant and is often met with resistance, but it’s one of the best ways to indulge in disagreements and leave the conversations feeling lighter and more accomplished; because at the very least, you know something now that you didn’t know before.

There are many difficult things about conflict, but one of the most paralyzing can be separating the person from the problem. It’s so easy to lump the two together, because how can they really be separate? We think, “If you and I disagree about politics or religion, or about your attitude, on some level, you MUST be the problem!” Sometimes the person is the problem, but most of the time, they aren’t. Pride, stubbornness, and a whole bunch of other emotions run the show and convince you they’re the problem so that you don’t have to do the hard work of reconciliation; and it is hard work. But it’s also important work.

Conflict is not something we should fear. In fact, living with no conflict is what should scare us. Conflict, or any form of discomfort for that matter is there to tell us that there is something within our life, relationships, being, or world that needs healing. It is our job to go into that interaction with confidence that the work we’re doing to resolve and bring peace to these situations is for not only our good, but the greater good.

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