A World Where Conflicts Abound:
Most of us, not including those who’re lucky to be enlightened, don’t want to live in the present moment. That’s because we don’t accept life as it has manifested itself. When our needs and desires, as we’re experiencing them, are not met in the immediate future, conflict arises.
Whether it’s an insinuating post by a friend on social media, or an off color remark by a relative at a family gathering, we often find ourselves in conflict of the moment. Should we react in anger right away, should we stay longer at the party, should we walk away from the job where our bosses don’t recognize our self-respect… Life presents us with so many scenarios!
When Do Conflicts Arise?
Conflicts can arise when our rational mind is telling us that something must be done in the real time that we’re in. At the same time, our emotional and physical needs are telling us that we must be doing what we enjoy. Let’s look at a few scenarios.
When we can’t stand to be here with a person or a task and we want to escape into an alternate reality. Or when we want to jump into our phones or into the arms of another human being than the one we’re with.
When we no longer enjoy the job we have because it doesn’t challenge our creativity enough. Or when we imagine someone else’s home to be better and beautiful and come to the “realization” that what we call home is no longer our “ultimate place to be”.
Sometimes, conflicts happen due to factors that are out of our control. Our businesses might be collapsing. And our lives might be revolving around money that we don’t have enough of. Or we live in a town that’s going through a major change and we no longer can keep up. Or our company has decided to move its office. Whatever the conflict is, its forcing us to get out of our comfort zone.
Binary Thinking And It’s Social Cost:
Binary thinking limits our understanding of any situation from the other’s viewpoint because it makes us see things as right/wrong, or black/white. This along with the unwillingness of two parties involved in an angry battle to be respectful towards each other can be the root cause for friction.
Animosities that arise like these between people or countries who’re not willing to see the big picture might end up becoming multi-generational, multi-country battles as are evident from history. Our world’s caste, religious, race and class warfares going back hundreds of years are examples of such conflicts. Extreme ideologies like hyper-nationalism and intolerance for anyone who doesn’t look like us are examples of such long lasting social chaos.
How To Confront Constructively:
As humans, we are expected to engage with others in a civil manner no matter how different our opinions might be. Our culture has embedded this thought into us so much that we would rather avoid unpleasant conversations or stay away from things or people that cause discomfort.
And, when we’re in groups, we tend to look for consensus. We don’t want to challenge others openly which is why sometimes we might end up adopting a bad idea to move forward an agenda.
Of course, social media and the veil of privacy that the internet world ensures has emboldened a few of us to say whatever we want without much worry for repercussions or backlash. That’s an entirely different topic of discussion of how the online world of comments and feedback has become a septic tank of massive proportions.
At the core of it, a conflict is simply a lack of balance. If two parties are at odds with each other, it’s important to weigh in what’s out of balance here. Is it their priorities, their lack of communication, or their view of the consequences of a mutual resolution?
We must learn to look into the varying perspectives and understand sometimes we can’t just draw a single unique outcome involving two feuding parties. Conflict and compromise must go hand in hand, and there requires an aspect of surrender from everyone.
Instead of lingering in doubt and guilt, we must try to sort through any conflict with clear and non-judgmental communication. Just as we might be trepid about approaching the situation, so might the other person be. And what better way than talking out rather than assuming and avoiding each other’s feelings? And in the process if we’re anticipating conflict yet again, why not prepare ourselves to listen and meet them midway with their concerns?
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. – Winston Churchill
Resolving The Inner Conflict:
Conflict doesn’t always involve another party or a person. Inspite of our best efforts, sometimes we sabotage ourselves with decisions and actions that leave us conflicted.
In order to align ourselves with the need of the moment, we can start by doing the right thing. Instead of second guessing ourselves, we can help reconcile with how we feel with the circumstances in front of us. We can focus on our actions and responsibilities not the results. After all, when we are our true selves, there’s nothing to be resolved.
And instead of living in constant combat with what’s evolving around us, we can simply become open to the idea of surrender. We can soak in every experience and acknowledge and accept that things are not always going to go our way. Come to think of it, there is great peace in living the moment rather than resisting it.