When dealing with conflict, you either avoid it, instigate and thrive in it, or mediate it out as best as possible. If you are someone that avoids it, you shut down and simply refuse to deal with it, taking a very passive role and giving in no matter the cost to you or the ones you love. You might be labeled a pushover and easy to manipulate. If you instigate and engage in it then you might be a person that thrives on being in control or others. If you are the mediator you might be subject to discrimination due to the fact that you will not pick a side. Do you stand your ground during conflict or do you sit down and give up your ground to someone else? Do you know when to be impartial?
I have times in my life where I have been all three at different times and in the wrong settings. (If you follow my blog somewhat regularly you know that I learn lessons about myself through an experience that I have reflected on. I learn the hard way most of the time.) I have instigated conflict out of boredom, spite, and insecurity. At other times I have avoided it out of laziness. I mostly mediate, however, my mediation has been suspect and one sided in the past. The interesting lesson that I learned through all of this is I had to learn (again, the hard way) to be responsive to a situation, not reactive, mediate through the mind set of how can I make this work for everyone, including myself, and be mindful of my inner dialogue.
In the desire to understand where my thoughts are at all times, I have stumbled upon the reason as to why I choose to be any one of those three when conflict does arise. In my younger days it was mostly brashness and egotism. I am older and I hope a little wiser. I am a pragmatist. Pragmatism is defined as a reasonable and logical way of doing things or of thinking about problems that is based on dealing with specific situations instead of on ideas and theories. Quite simply, I look for the best solution that fits the situation instead of a one size fits all solution. There is more than one way to get to the finish line, and as long as everyone gets there, who are we to say it doesn’t work?
If I feel the need to step back and let the situation resolve itself, I will, happily. No need to add stress if the situation will resolve itself. If I feel the need to instigate, which is not often, then it is about provoking a response from another person that will make them think and hopefully reflect on later. Usually these people are guarded and in order for me to get past that guard I have to create conflict because in that conflict they will be reactive and honest, which I need from them. The times that I rise to the occasion and address conflict are the times when a person said one thing and then turned around and did the exact opposite of that. Or there are times when I know that the conflict has nothing to do with me personally, and everything to do with them. It is in those times that I stand up and let them know that they are creating the problem through their own cognitive dissonance. What they do from that point on is their own choosing.
These are my words, my “aha” moments, that I share openly. Life is about growth. My path is different than yours, and my lessons are as well. What you do with them is your choice. My intent is to provide through provoking material that will make you question where you are in your life and if you are happy with that. If you are I am happy for you. If you aren’t then address it. If something I have written makes you question something in your life, then I have done my job.