01 July 2009
In my group therapy class back in college my teacher said something once that I thought was very profound. He was talking to us about a theory behind certain group therapies, that the group just moves from conflict to conflict. There will be periods of non-conflict, but inevitably another one always arises. And he said that we can look at life this way. As moving from one conflict to another.
And I got to thinking about it, and I think it's true. Life goes from one conflict to another. And there may be time between, but inevitably another conflict is bound to come up. I think this is absolutely true in life. I think this is true in marriage. I think this is true of friendships. And contrary to what it may seem on the surface, I think this is a very positive way of looking at the world. If we expect that there will be conflict, we can begin to see conflict in a less negative way. Conflict isn't always bad. It doesn't have to be huge and emotional. It sometimes is, but if we can get through it together (like in a marital conflict), we end up feeling closer and more connected at the end. We compromise, and shape ourselves, and work on humility.
It's when we begin to avoid conflict that things get messy. We stuff our emotions. We don't say what we really think because we don't want to get in a fight. And we eventually end up unhappy and frustrated and bugged at those closest to us. All because we want to avoid conflict. Because we have it ingrained in us that conflict is bad.
Contention is bad. Conflict is unavoidable.
Take a look at yourself. What do you do when you are faced with conflict? Are you an avoider? Do you shut down? Are you a blamer? Do you go into attack mode?