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Facing Conflict: The Path to Resolution

June 5th, 2024

In the intricate dance of human interactions, conflicts often lurk beneath the surface, waiting to be addressed. While some may instinctively shy away from confrontation, there comes a time when avoiding conflict can do more harm than good. This introspective piece delves into the nuances of conflict resolution, exploring the reasons behind our avoidance of conflicts, the repercussions of such avoidance, and the transformative power of confronting disagreements with courage and clarity. Join us on a journey to understand why embracing conflict can lead to deeper connections, personal empowerment, and a healthier approach to resolving differences.

Some people are naturally drawn towards conflicts, and they have no problem or difficulty entering heated arguments with anyone over any subject, whether it’s a significant or a minor one. However, most of us tend to do our best to avoid or at least try to defuse situations where a conflict is likely to arise. After all, conflicts put strain on our relationships with others, cause emotional distress, and can very often lead to negative consequences for us. All in all, a lot of the time, having a conflict is just not worth it, so that is why the strategy of avoiding such situations is the correct one right? Well, yes and no. While it is indeed true that it’s often unnecessary and counterproductive to enter a conflict with someone, there are also times when you shouldn’t back away and laugh it off like there’s no real reason for a disagreement. Unfortunately, many of us are conditioned to avoid conflicts at all costs no matter what, even when there is an actual problem that needs to be resolved.

Why we avoid conflicts

As I mentioned above, there are more than enough reasons why someone may choose to avoid situations where they may need to confront another person when there’s some type of disagreement. First and foremost, conflicts are emotionally taxing - they can feel very unpleasant, especially if you are naturally a more agreeable person. People who are inherently inclined to seek mutual understanding and harmony in their communications with others find it very difficult to enter an argument with another person, even if they know they are in the right. 

Furthermore, lack of confidence can also be a large contributing factor as to why one may choose to look the other way rather than confront another person when they feel they may have been wronged or when there’s some type of disagreement.

Additional factors that also play a significant role in how likely you are to choose to avoid a conflict are your upbringing, cultural background, personal values, social circle, and more.

Ultimately, a lot of the reasons why we may try to avoid such confrontations are beyond our control, but this doesn’t mean that we should accept this and always seek to stay away from arguments and conflicts.

How staying away from conflicts makes matters worse for us

Sure, there are situations when a conflict may arise over some trivial matter that’s simply not worth the energy and time you’d invest in resolving it. However, not all conflicts are like that and oftentimes, it’s actually better to dig in and get to the bottom of the issue, no matter how uncomfortable or unpleasant it may be for both you and the other person/people involved in the conflict. 

The thing is that, if you always choose to step away from a conflict, this will cause the more serious issues and disagreements that you have with other people to only deepen and become more pronounced over time. Depending on the situation either you or the other side of the conflict (or both) may accumulate more and more negative feelings until, at one point, someone explodes into an outburst of anger and frustration. This can be a lot more harmful to your relationship with that person, compared to addressing your initial disagreement when it first arises. Conflict resolution and anger management are intricately linked, with the ability to manage one often influencing the other. Many individuals seek valuable insights on coping with these emotions by enrolling in conflict resolution classes or anger management programs, recognizing the interconnectedness between effectively addressing conflicts and managing anger.

Furthermore, if you are always the one to back down from a conflict, this will show other people that they can always walk over you and have things their way regardless of your desires and feelings. The thing is that even decent people will instinctively take advantage of someone who is always backing down from a conflict. Furthermore, many people may not even realize that you are not okay with a particular situation, since you are unwilling to communicate your disapproval of it. 

And what this all leads to is you feeling miserable all the time and accumulating resentment towards others, even when they don’t actually deserve it. And for the instances when someone is actively and knowingly taking advantage of another person’s agreeable nature and non-confrontational predisposition, avoiding conflicts only encourages those people to continue being this way and shows them that they can always get what they want without concern for anyone or anything else which, in my humble opinion, is a big problem in today’s society.

Confronting the conflict

But how does one go about confronting others if doing it causes such emotional discomfort and can even have negative consequences in the long term? Well, first of all, it is important to know when it’s actually worth engaging in a conflict. To put it simply, you need to pick your battles and not waste your resources on meaningless quarrels.

As I said, not all disagreements are worth it, but when the subject of a conflict is something that’s very important to you, then you’d probably be better off biting the bullet and confronting the other person/people. As uncomfortable as doing so might be, it will still be better than showing others that you are okay with giving up on something that actually means a lot to you. This is because letting things slide like this sets a dangerous precedent that others will start to exploit, which, as I already pointed out, will inevitably make you feel miserable in the end. That is why you need to have strong personal boundaries and a list of priorities, so that you always know when it’s necessary to confront someone in a conflict and when it might be okay to ignore the disagreement, since its root cause is not something that’s greatly important to you. © · 2024