When we are trained to avoid conflict, or that a conflict-free existence is a peaceful one to aspire for, we allow the spark of life to be doused over time. Conflict is an essential part of living, growing and relating to the other. A mechanism that signals what we value and how to move towards things that matter to us.
Conflict that only revolves around everything “wrong” in the other (blame and judgement) it is sometimes a way to escape accepting the bitter truth that not everyone (not even people we care for and love deeply) will always be on the same page as us, grow and move at the same pace as us, or be able to be there for us in the way that we need.
There is a purpose to conflict in our lives. It helps clarify to ourselves what is important and why. Especially valuable when we are in relation to the other. To be willing to disagree, differ and face conflict as a result of it is to be willing to keep alive in ourselves that which is important to us.
In this way, conflict become the ability to exchange differing opinions and voice them. To clain one’s own values and space in relation to the other. This could bring us closer to others who think alike, or those who don’t but are open to growing from hearing new perspectives. Conflict is an essential ingredient in growth and healthy relationship.
Hinging conflict heavily on judgement and blaming creates anxiety and makes us believe conflict is itself anxiety-inducing. This is untrue. When possible, look at conflict as a means to acknowledge the others’ experience, to understand that we are all different and driven by vastly different motivations, and most of all as a means to learn from the shared experience that is a relationship, and to build, evolve and grow.
As I wrote this this morning, I was thinking also of the farmers sitting in Delhi. And the general state of upheaval this country seems to be in. It brings up words like conflict, dissent and democracy. And I feel even more than conflict is good. Sure, there is always a price to pay, most often a burden borne not by people of privilege like me, but it is the nature of change and evolution.
Once again, a reminder that the personal is political, the political is personal.
Two years ago: All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise
Four years ago: Book post, of course